Building bonds

| Print |  Email
Articles - February 2014
Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Thompson’s first job out of college was with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, a global architecture firm that designed the Standard building currently occupied by Stoel Rives. “The first architecture firm Bob worked for designed this building, and the building we’re moving to he designed,” says Van Brocklin, who clearly relishes the literariness of it all. “You can’t write stuff like that.”

Today Thompson is busy working on Nike’s 700,000-square-foot Asian headquarters in Shanghai, along with half a dozen Nike retail stores around the United States. Van Brocklin has been instrumental in helping integrate Stoel Rives across offices and practice areas, as well as growing the firm’s energy, renewable energy and natural resource practice areas. 

Both men count each other as among their closest friends: “one of the three people in your life that you have a foundation with,” Thompson says. “We can walk into this room and sit down and not struggle with small talk, because there is a real deep root to what formulates our relationship.” And yet: amid the all-consuming tasks of raising kids and building businesses, the two men typically see each other only a few times a year.

 “Time has a way of going and going, and all of a sudden, you lift your head up and 10 years go by,” says Thompson. “Then you start thinking about all the things that are important in your life outside of what it is you do.”

Enter Park Avenue West. A longtime architect for Tom Moyer, the influential founder of TMT Development, Thompson was a natural choice to design the skyscraper, an elegant, precertified LEED Platinum tower that will include, among other green features, the city’s first 30,000-gallon rain-harvesting tank, designed to reduce potable water by 40%. 

0214 TWOBOBS5
A rendering of the Park Avenue West Tower

After 43 years in the same building, Stoel Rives, which employs 150 lawyers and paralegals in Portland, was ready to relocate, says Van Brocklin, who knew Moyer from working on the Fox Tower. The Park Avenue West’s green design will also serve as an important recruitment tool, he says. What is good for Stoel Rives is good for the city; the firm’s decision to sign a lease occupying nine of 13 floors of office space was the key to securing the financing that allowed construction on the building to move forward.

One of the state’s most environmentally friendly buildings, the Park Avenue West marks the ongoing evolution of downtown as a vibrant place to live, work and play. But if the skyscraper is a logical extension of urban growth patterns established several decades ago, it also stands as something of a monument to two men who helped push the city’s legacy forward. As Thompson observes, another story about the Park Avenue West “comes back to Van’s success as an attorney and mine as an architect. Now we both get to share rights.”

Van Brocklin and Thompson’s kids are grown, and the men are approaching the twilight of their careers. Both expect to spend more time together going forward. “I think of us coming full circle,” says Thompson, “from sitting on the couch in college dreaming about where we want to get to, and now we will be …” Van Brocklin finishes his friend’s sentence, “… sitting on that deck on the 29th floor of the Park Avenue West Tower."

“I’m finishing my legal career in a building he designed,” Van Brocklin muses. “Of course, that’s how the story is going to end.”



 

Comments   

 
Guest
0 #1 VanessaGuest 2014-01-31 22:48:47
Such a cool story four decades in the making between two men who have shaped Portland's skyline and civic landscape. Hope they pull up a westward facing seat together when Park Avenue West is complete and celebrate their respective accomplishments !
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #2 RE: Building bondsGuest 2014-02-04 17:48:49
Bob,
Glad I ran into this. Inspiring story I would like my son to read.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Stemming the tide of money in politics

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
 jeff-lang-2012-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy.  “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”


Read more...

Oregon needs a Grand Bargain energy plan

Linda Baker
Monday, June 22, 2015
0622-gastaxblogthumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Clean Fuels/gas tax trade off will go down in history as another disjointed, on-again off-again approach to city and state lawmaking.


Read more...

Green workplace 2.0

Linda Baker
Thursday, May 28, 2015
IMG 2808BY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

Reinventing capitalism. Office dumpster divers. Handprints versus carbon footprints.


Read more...

Modern design defines new Portland indoor market

The Latest
Thursday, June 25, 2015
thumbSnøhetta JBPM exterior www mir noBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An international architecture firm known for its design of the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York unveiled its plan this week for a modern indoor/outdoor food market at the foot of the Morrison Bridge in downtown Portland.


Read more...

Downtime with John Helmick

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Live, Work, Play: CEO of Gorilla Capital.


Read more...

Oregon businesses face destruction from future earthquake

The Latest
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
htctthumb1BY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An earthquake would completely destroy many Oregon businesses, highlighting the urgent need for the private and public sectors to collaborate on shoring up disaster preparedness, said panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast summit today.


Read more...

Destination Resorts 2.0

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

As the recession recedes and tourism grows, Central Oregon resorts redefine themselves for a new generation.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS