Portland State University Architecture Studio 2010

“URBAN RESPONSIVE INFRASTRUCTURE” – Envisioning the impact of a new High Speed Rail station in Downtown Portland

The 2009 US federal stimulus program defined the increase of investments in rail infrastructure projects as a top priority. One of the proposed high-speed rail corridors is located in the Pacific Northwest, linking Vancouver BC, Seattle and Portland, OR.

This studio focused on the new form of urban infrastructure. In specific, students created the mix/ or non-mix on specific functions that define and create a hybrid of urban functions to ensure a sustainable city district.

Contemporary infrastructure nodes, as already planned in Europe and Asia, offer more functions for the surrounding city beyond their initial purpose as a circulation system. They serve as hybrids between city, commercial, office, circulation needs and offer different degrees of private / public space. This studio operated on the assumption that large parts of the existing system, including the right of way and station buildings, as well as the surrounding urban context, will have to be redeveloped, in order to cope with contemporary programmatic and high speed requirements. Primary research explored these issues:

  • What are the urban impacts of the new high speed rail station at the Rose Quarter location adjacent to Downtown Portland ?
  • How can we develop a sustainable infrastructure node aiming at incorporating different functions and blending with the city to

create site activation and programmatic synergies