Pacific Coast Architecture Database (PCAD)


Portland Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR

ID: 13918
Construction Date: Start Date: 1958
End Date: 1960
Notes: The Portland Memorial Coliseum stood 100 ft (30 m) tall and covered 3.1 acres. The American Institute of Architects, Oregon Chapter, gave the coliseum an Honor Award for design in 1961; this coliseum was notable for its extensive use of glass around its perimeter envelope. This transparency is not common for the building type; the Oakland Coliseum Arena (Roche and Dinkeloo, 1964-1966) is another example of a transparent arena. The Beatles played in the Portland Memorial Coliseum before 20,000 frenzied fans, 08/22/1965. Originally, the building was supposed to seat 8,500 spectators for stage events and up to 14,000 for boxing matches.
Building History: In 1954, voters of Portland, OR, passed an $8 million bond issue to erect a multi-purpose cultural venue to commemorate veterans who gave service to the nation. Erected for the Portland Exposition-Recreation Commission, this "Glass Palace " opened on 01/08/1961. Portland's important office of Skidmore, Owings and Merrrill (SOM) designed the multi-purpose building in the late 1950s. SOM was formed in 1936 in Chicago, IL, by architects Louis Skidmore, Nathaniel Owings, John Ogden Merrill; after World War II, SOM obtained many large-scale commissions throughout the U.S., and, consequently, opened offices in New York, NY, San Francisco, CA, Houston, TX, and Los Angeles, CA. When Pietro Belluschi, the most influential architect working in Portland between 1935-1950, decided to head to Cambridge, MA, to become Dean of the Architecture School at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1951, he arranged to merge his robust office with a Portland branch of the prestigious SOM. The project's Structural Engineer was Moffat, Nichol and Taylor, the General Contractor, Hoffman Construction. The firm of Poole, McGonigle and Dick fabricated the steel components of the roof's metal trusses.
Structure Type: built works - exhibition buildings
built works - performing arts buildings
built works - public buildings - assembly halls
built works - social and civic buildings
Locations: Structure:
300 North Winning Way
Portland, OR