Canvas Restaurant Spring Studio 2010


Canvas Restaurant is an adaptive reuse of the ground floor of an historic building in the Old Town neighborhood of Portland. Built in the 1880s, the Blagen Building is one of the last remaining cast iron buildings in the city. It was originally used to manufacture tents, awnings and sail cloth. Currently used as commercial office space, the design proposal calls for converting it into a restaurant loosely associated with the University of Oregon’s Portland satellite campus, which occupies the majority of the adjacent buildings on the block.

The restaurant’s palette maximizes the exposure of the building’s original historic materials (brick, cast iron, and heavy timber) and blends them with contemporary elements. The earth and neutral tones enable key areas to become subtle a “canvas” to display artwork created by university students and local artists. The seamless integration of the old and new pays subtle homage to the building’s original historic use without taking away from the new restaurant/gallery concept.

The space is broken down into to main areas, the double height main dining space and the mezzanine. Main dining is open and communal, and can be configured to accommodate a variety of public and communal gatherings. The large historic doors can be opened up to the street blurring the line between restaurant and sidewalk. The mezzanine is enclosed and intimate, thereby better suited for more private and intimate gatherings.