Olympic Mills Commerce Center

The Olympic Mills Commerce Center is the result of converting the historic 172,000 sf mill from grain storage and city block sized production floors into a hive of smaller design and new technology workspaces. An architecture of discreet interventions was adopted. The primary intervention perforated the base with four interior courtyards. The extracted wood was remilled to construct the two-story courtyard screens. Adaptation became an exercise of re-arranging letters to form new words. Historically, contained within the tower’s concrete structural bays were wood grain cribs extending up through multiple floors. The large format of the lower plates allowed for a micro-urban environment to be created by utilizing a vocabulary embedded in the historic structure. The crib-like construction of the courtyards, inserted into the relatively uniform grid imbues the large structure with a connected armature of public spaces that help to organize the private suites. The result of this planning offers an experience not unlike the meandering path through a larger city: discovery of small scale businesses punctuated by daylit open space.

Location Portland, OR
Date 2007
total square fT 172,000
TYPOLOGY Adaptive Reuse, Commercial Office
Client Beam Development
Status Completed


Architects Carrie Strickland, Bill Neburka
General Contractor Beam Construction & Management
Structural Engineer DCI Engineers
Photographer Stephen A. Miller


  • 2010 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Built Citation
  • 2008 Portland Spaces Root Awards Work/Lounge Runner Up
  • 2007 AIA Oregon Built Merit
  • 2005 AIA Oregon Citation