Memorial Coliseum National Register Nomination
Size: 197,600 gross square feet
Peter Meijer Architect, PC (PMA) conducted historic research and prepared the National Register nomination for Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon. In 2011, the building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural significance.
PMA’s advocacy for the preservation of Memorial Coliseum earned the firm a role on the building’s 2011 rehabilitation design team. PMA provided drawings of the building overlaid with “preservation zones” highlighting historic character-defining features with low, medium, and high priority for preservation to guide the design team. PMA’s research and nomination enabled the City to take advantage of significant tax credits in the rehabilitation of the public structure. The Memorial Gardens and Timber Industry conference rooms features were included in the building’s interpretation and marketing plans.
When completed in 1960, Memorial Coliseum was a technological feat of engineering and operation unrivaled by any other large civic structure, and a fully-articulated example of International-Style Modernism. In addition to the glass curtain wall, Memorial Coliseum’s other features, such as the undulating concrete seating bowl, contribute to the significant social history of the building. The building is the only large-scale public arena glass-walled structure of the mid-century retaining its original design, materials, workmanship, highly urban context, and original relationship to nearby geographic features such as the Willamette River.