[Heritage] Portland fountain plaza series listed in National Register of Historic Places

Heritage Info heritage.info at state.or.us
Wed Mar 6 15:31:23 PST 2013

The innovative series of downtown Portland fountain plazas by
world-renowned landscape architect Lawrence Halprin has been listed in
the National Register of Historic Places, according to the Oregon State
Historic Preservation Office.  
Known individually as Keller Fountain, Pettygrove Park, Lovejoy
Fountain, and the Source Fountain, the public plazas are located between
SW Clay and Lincoln streets and First and Fourth Avenues and are
connected by a system of pedestrian walkways. They are collectively
called the “Portland Open Space Sequence.”
“Portland is well-known for the 1970s and 1980s transformation of its
downtown with great public spaces like Waterfront Park and Pioneer
Courthouse Square,” said Randy Gragg, president of the Halprin Landscape
Conservancy, the initiators of the nomination. “But it was Halprin’s
fountain plazas of the 1960s that first made downtown safe for fun.”
A winner of the Presidential Medal of the Arts and other honors,
Halprin and members of his firm, Lawrence Halprin and Associates,
designed the plazas from 1963-1970 as the heart of the city’s first
urban renewal district, known as the South Auditorium District. Their
unprecedented sculptural wedding of public space, water, and references
to the natural landscape turned the plazas into instant people magnets,
luring investment and laying the groundwork for Portland’s unique urban
renewal policies for decades to come, according to the nomination’s
“Nearly forty-three years after the late architecture critic Ada Louise
Huxtable declared that it ‘may be one of the most important urban spaces
since the Renaissance’, this defining achievement in Halprin's
extraordinary career has been deservedly recognized by inclusion in the
National Register,” said Charles A. Birnbaum, president and founder of
The Cultural Landscape Foundation in Washington, D.C
Halprin’s ideas about nature, movement and social interaction
transformed the American urban landscape and influenced a generation of
designers. Halprin designed important urban projects such as the Century
21 World’s Fair site in Seattle; Sproul Plaza at the University of
California-Berkeley; Ghirardelli Square and Embarcadero Plaza in San
Francisco; Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis; Heritage Park Plaza in Fort
Worth, Texas; the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C.;
and the Walter and Elise Haas Promenade in Jerusalem.
As these plazas approach 50 years of age, the Halprin Landscape
Conservancy, nearby property owners and the City of Portland have
initiated a public-private stewardship program that has already resulted
in tree-thinning, new lighting, and repairs to the iconic shelter
designed by Halprin associate Charles Moore at Lovejoy Fountain. This
spring, the conservancy will launch a plan for additional restoration
and ongoing enhanced maintenance.
The National Register is maintained by the National Park Service under
the authority of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. More
information about the National Register and recent Oregon listings is
online at www.oregonheritage.org (click on “National Register” at left
of page).
Other information:
National Register nomination link 

Oral history of Halprin by The Cultural Landscape Foundation 
Halprin Landscape Conservancy website link www.halprinlc.org 
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