martin luther king jr. gateway and heritage markers by studio

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landscape architecture

[all images courtesy studio]

two weeks ago i spotted this project via landezine. since corten steel is one of my favorite materials, i know i have to share it again here on michitecture :)

designed and led by portland-based studio, MLK jr. gateway not only provides iconic landmark for the diverse communities but also is an outcome of close collaboration between design team and the communities.

project description by studio : (thanks!! )

The NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard Gateway and Heritage Markers Project supports the ongoing efforts of area residents and business owners to highlight the unique identity of Portland’s inner north and northeast neighborhoods. Studio Landscape Architecture led a multidisciplinary team in both Master Planning and Design, working closely with neighborhood activists to create a landmark gateway and plaza that denotes entry into these historically rich neighborhoods and shares the history of their diverse residents.


… the design response introduced a sculptural scrim wall that shelters a modest civic plaza within one curve, before being bisected by northbound lanes in its reverse curve. Fast moving traffic breaks through the line of the wall, while the scrim of punched weathered steel embraces the plaza. Weathered steel was selected for its historic reference to the Albina District’s wartime ship building industry that instigated large-scale immigration to the area as well as the materials durability in this intensely urban environment. Fabrication of a double panel of punched steel provided transparency through the scrim for safety while creating a shimmering moiré’ pattern for passing traffic. Lit from within, the scrim created a gateway presence 24/7, also referencing the vitality of the district’s nightlife.


… the scrim supports a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that spans both the primary northbound segment and the smaller terminating southbound segment. In entirety the quote reads “I believe…they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” referencing the common hope of shifting communities that have called this area home. Broken when the scrim crosses traffic lanes, the full quote can only be fully read by both entering and exiting the district.

2inkStudio_MLK-Gateway_2… planting further unifies the site with textural grasses catching the motion of passing traffic and hardy perennials providing subtle seasonal color. Large trees shade the plaza and vegetated bioswales filter run-off from the hardscape. The planting palette is repeated at the smaller median parcel, further strengthening the threshold experience.


2inkStudio_MLK-Gateway_7[all images courtesy of studio]

you can read the full project story via landezine.

also don’t forget to check out studio’s website for more inspiring projects, including the collaboration with skylab architecture for the ever famous hoke residence (aka edward cullen’s family residence) !

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