US Bancorp Tower (“Big Pink”)

At 536 feet, The US Bancorp Tower is Portland’s second tallest building.  This modernist structure was designed by Skidmore, Owings, and merrill with Pietro Belluschi as a consultant.  The tower’s odd shape is a response to the unique diamond-shaped site on which it’s built.  The result is an extruded parallelogram-shaped tower with an ever-changing scale and proportion.  From the east or west, the building appears slender and tall.  However, when viewed from the north or south, the tower appears squat and wide.

The distinctive exterior cladding of copper and silver coated glass with Spanish granite gives the building  a variety of colors and textures.  Depending on the time of day, season, weather, and viewing angle, the it can appear pink, tan, orange, brown, gray, and even greenish.

The building’s tenants are almost exclusively commercial offices.  However, The Portland City Grill can be found on the 30th floor.  I took my prom date to eat there and we thought it was incredible.  Great views- sorry I didn’t take any pictures at the time!

Here are my photos and sketches:




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4 thoughts on “US Bancorp Tower (“Big Pink”)

  1. Susan says:

    The Bancorp Tower building is such a great modern achievment and a classic Portland beauty. Your renderings are great and artworthy! The forethought that went into materials for the buildings exterior is what true architecture should be about. The everchanging moods of the building keep it as alive as the city it lives in.

    • Thanks for checking out my post! I agree, it’s a really brilliant building and I think you’re correct to say that it has “moods.” Just the other day it looked very gray and brooding but then later changed to radiant orange-pink color.

  2. Dave says:

    Why does it seem like the Tower is never in photos of Portland, almost as if it were intentionally beng excluded?

  3. Kristi says:

    I love this building but I never realized the story behind it’s odd shape and appearance. Your drawing of the big buildings in downtown is fantastic. Thanks for your work. I hope you do more posts like this.

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