Whenever we need to name a building, we go through an intense process of gathering together a list of potential candidates, putting each possibility up against a specific criteria list. On top of that, we work out the functional opportunities each top choice might offer—vetting them against the competition, investigating possible web domain and signage applications, and so on. Believe us, it is no small matter to put a mark on the city we love. So with that in mind, here’s the general thinking behind naming a new building:
1: Does it reflect the qualities of the building’s architectural design?
The building is an elegant, progressive intersection of activity. A bridge between the Pearl and the park blocks, the building is a unifying, connecting catalyst. With its transparent and translucent facets, it forms both a visual and auditory connection between interior and exterior, between the street and the space above. From the inside looking out, and the outside looking in, people living, working, and playing will activate all aspects of this building. A true 24/7 concept space, the building will maximize energy efficiency. The connectivity between people who live work, shop, and dine in the building—and visit the vibrant West End—will create a truly exciting community. Shimmering glass and steel, deep blue and rich silver, it’s Portland’s newest landmark.
2: Does it reflect the qualities of the building’s interiors?
Throughout the building’s interior, fully-operable windows offer superior indoor air quality, and high-efficiency window glazing lets in the sunlight in the winter and keeps out the heat in the summer. Revolutionary climate control features use chilled beam piping in the ceiling to cool the interiors, and displacement air in the floor for even, efficient heat. And naturally sustainable materials—such as bamboo cabinetry—bring the living environment into the mix.
3: Is it appropriate to the neighborhood?
The building is poised at a crossroads—connecting the authentic, urban West End neighborhood with the galleries, eateries and entertainment of the Pearl, Northwest and downtown. The neighborhood has a strong history and is geared as one of Portland’s most exciting, emerging places to be. Only blocks from MAX, the Streetcar, and TriMet bus routes, as well as Interstate 405, all transportation options are right outside the door.
4: Is there a depth of meaning? A back story?
There should be something more to the name than simply marking a place. We look for a background narrative, something that relates to the space, makes a connection to the people and the energy surrounding it. There should be layers of meaning and concept that make multiple connections.
5: Does it stand out in a unique way?
We don’t want to just stand in line. We want to stand apart. We want to make sure the name is not already in use in a similar way, so as not to confuse. Clarity is key. And it would need to work as a web address. Because in the end, the unfortunate reality is that the name has to function in our increasingly online world.
6: Does it sound nice to say? Will it work in conversation? Does it function as a name?
We look for names that are memorable, clear, and easy to spell and say. And we look for it to pass the “I live at the __________” sociological test.
7: Is it appropriate and relevant to Portlanders?
This is where you come in. Let us know. We’re all Portlanders ourselves, but we could use your input. Let us know what you think.