Portland, OR

Completed 2018

35,400 SF



Daniel Kaven, Partner-in-Charge
Trevor William Lewis, Partner-in-Charge
Mike Perso, Project Architect
Max Taschek, Project Designer
Joel Dickson, Project Designer

Mixed-use Office and Retail

2019 DJC Top Project, 3rd Place

Portland Business Tribune
“A Winner on Williams”

Daily Journal of Commerce
“Photos: Heavy timber mixed-use building arrives”

Silica, located on the corner of North Williams and Mason Street in NE Portland, combines leasable office and retail space with light, air and modern sensibility. The fourth floor of the structure, home to William / Kaven's new headquarters, includes an open-concept office space and private meeting rooms that offer stunning views of the vibrant Williams Corridor and Mt. Hood.

Silica’s program consists of ground-floor retail, office and covered parking. The base, which houses two retail spaces, is clad in board-form concrete with large glazed openings. Cantilevering out from the base sits a three-story box clad in a highly reflective curtain wall with interstitial panels of pin-striped fritted glass running top to bottom. Along N Williams, the cantilever provides more than 7’ of overhang to shelter a sidewalk cafe program. An outdoor terrace with a green roof and an extension of the office along the south at Level 2 serve to break down the building’s mass and scale and negotiate a transition to its residential neighbors to the south. Balconies along the west facade capture views of downtown Portland and the West Hills while providing shading and privacy to the large expanses of office window. Two concrete cores that house the vertical circulation support the building in shear while massive glue-laminated timber beams with fir car-decking and a concrete topping slab span between to make up the floors.

Critical to the design of Silica was meticulous landscape integration; the terrace’s green roof and the balconies’ steel planters, along with the vine trellises and foliage at the base of the building, produce views as stunning from the inside as they are from the outside. The building was deliberately set back from the street to accommodate the sidewalk cafe program and a row of substantial cork oak trees.

Few Portland streets have as dramatic a history as Williams Avenue, which forms the border between the city’s North and Northeast quadrants as it stretches from the Rose Quarter through neighborhoods like Boise, Eliot and Humboldt. When a positive addition like the Silica Building comes along, perhaps it’s time to take stock.
— Brian Libby, Portland Architecture
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Located in a neighborhood that has been transformed in recent years by a considerable building boom, Silica serves as a quietly assertive anchor that acknowledges the industrial roots of the site while elevating the aesthetic standards of the neighborhood as a whole. The site was formerly home to a single-story, un-reinforced steel fabrication shop, a history referenced in Silica’s steel and heavy-timber construction. Several of the old-growth beams from the deconstructed building were repurposed into furniture for the new lobby and common areas on the floors above, including benches that sit atop steel legs fabricated by the very manufacturing plant that Silica replaces. In this sense, the interior embodies the place and the spirit of the site.

The Silica on Williams Avenue marks a new chapter in an ongoing urban story in Portland.
— Portland Business Tribune
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Architecture of Normal, a mural at the entrance of the lobby by Partner Daniel Kaven, serves as a visual link to surrounding buildings in the neighborhood, many of which prominently feature exterior murals.

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Portland is divided into 6 neighborhood quadrants, N, NW, SW, SE, NE and E. North Williams Avenue is a north-south street that defines the eastern boundary of North Portland. Stretching 3.3 miles from northeast Winning Way near the Moda Center to North Winchell Street, Williams runs through the Eliot, Boise, Humboldt, and Piedmont neighborhoods. The central blocks of North Williams are commonly referred to as the Williams District. The project site is located on the corner of Williams and Mason, in the heart of the Williams District, surrounded by thriving retail shops, popular restaurants and modern apartments.