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Willamette Week

What's with all the bumpy buildings?

April 28th 2010

They look as though a godlike hand had poked square sections of building from behind, giving their facades the appearance of a half-finished game of Jenga. Their faces are broken by what can only be described as boxy protrusions. They cheekily ignore the glass-and-concrete-curtained, deck-bedecked norm of contemporary urban architecture (see ZGF's 12 West tower, Boora's the Metropolitan and the entire South Waterfront) but don't go so far as to stumble into Zaha Hadid's realm of alien contours. They are playful without being pretentious. They are bumpy buildings, and they seem to have suddenly popped up all over the city. Why? We called the designers of the three most prominent bumpy buildings in the city to find out.


Designed by: Myhre Group Architects

Year built: Announced 2007, completed 2010

Location: Northwest 14th Avenue and Marshall Street

Why's it bumpy? Well, we don't really know. Repeated emails and phone calls to Myhre Group went unanswered, so we can only go on what's already in the public record: Project manager Allen Tsai told the Daily Journal of Commerce in February that the firm "tried to incorporate the concept of motion into the building." It does that. The most Jengalike of Jengatectures, the Enso has metal-wrapped window boxes protruding from dark wood siding, resembling stacked shipping containers. It's a good look.