Our client tapped SERA to analyze and propose improvements to the multiple plazas at the World Trade Center campus in downtown Portland. The client was interested in enhancements that would activate these public-private plazas, attract tenants to the ground floor spaces, aid in wayfinding, and provide a variety of safe and comfortable spaces to rest and gather.
Working directly with operational leadership, SERA sought solutions that offered greatest level of impact based on the client’s annual budgets and delivery requirements. Our site assessment helped inform the project goals for each plaza, and determined different uses based on movement and microclimate. With that information, we designed a series of tactical improvements that could be phased in over time, while tying into an overall vision and cohesive aesthetic.
For the first phase – providing socially-distanced outdoor seating for employees, tenants and the public at 1 WTC plaza – upgrades included new pre-fab and modular systems that dramatically increased vegetation and seating options. SERA worked directly with the manufacturer to select furniture that was movable to accommodate future change, and could be customized to fit the space and context. Today, rather than being a place to walk past, 1 WTC plaza now draws pedestrians in. Former standing-room only spaces now provide a variety of seating configurations for everything from semi-private time, a place to eat your lunch, and conversations and meetings. This work also supports the City of Portland’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan by helping connect the Park Blocks to the riverfront along SW Salmon Street.