A historic landscape

Image: Nicole Dextras

“As we looked at the history of Sullivan’s Gulch we saw an opportunity to embrace the geological forces that created the land, and explored what a building could look like if the form of the building eroded and we carved back the scale at, and around, streetlevel,” said David Keltner, Principal, AIA, LEED AP, of Hacker Architects, which designed TwentyTwenty. “This ultimately inspired the design, allowing us to blend the building into the neighborhood and complement the variety of surrounding home styles.”

Sullivan’s Gulch was formed more than 13,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age. The ice dam containing Glacial Lake Missoula thawed an estimated 40 times, causing floodwaters to spill across Idaho and eastern Washington, surging down the Columbia River and through the Gorge, flooding the Willamette Valley. This “Missoula Flood” covered Portland with approximately 400 feet of water, ultimately carving out Sullivan’s Gulch.

Drawing inspiration from these natural forces unleashed on the region over a millennia, the design for TwentyTwenty includes wood detailing, monochromatic stucco, and fissure-like balconies – creating variations in the building plane that evoke the glacial carving and erosion that once formed Sullivan’s Gulch itself. The building is rotated on the site, reducing the scale from the street and emphasizing views to both Mt. Hood and downtown Portland.