Post image for Buchan Education Building

Buchan Education Building

Project Info

First Unitarian Church
Portland, Oregon
20,000 sf addition
Completed in 2006


This phased project involved master planning and design for a full block in downtown Portland, including renovation of a historic church and the addition of an adjacent education building. The sanctuary of the historic Georgian Colonial style First Unitarian Church, designed by local architect Jamieson Parker and built in 1927, underwent a complete seismic upgrade and historic restoration. The building was designated as a Portland Historic Landmark in 1974 and added to the National Registry of Historic Landmarks in 1978.

The new Buchan Building adds program space to accommodate the church’s Religious Education program. In addition, the building improves circulation and creates common lobby spaces with shared access to a new elevator and internal courtyard, improving the connection between the church and the religious education activities. The Buchan Building has been designed to align aesthetically with the historic church: reflecting its scale, utilizing similar materials, and respecting its presence on the block as an important historical and cultural artifact.

Sustainable Design Highlights:
Sustainable Design Highlights:

Energy Savings: Perimeter glazing with daylight sensors reduces lighting needs. Highly reflective cool roof coating to minimize heat gain and reduce heat-island effect.

Water Conservation: Courtyard planters treat stormwater runoff from the roof before discharging to the municipal system.

Local Materials: Bricks made locally minimize fuel consumption with long-distance shipping.

Resource Reuse: Of the three buildings that were deconstructed to make room for the new building, over 97% of those materials were recycled or otherwise diverted from the landfill. Existing buildings were deconstructed and reused.

Certification: LEED Gold