The Casey: A High-Rise Condominium Earns LEED-Platinum

The Casey Tower in Portland, OregonIn addition to being the first high-rise condominium in the country to achieve a LEED-Platinum rating, The Casey represents a partnership between the building’s developers, designers, and the local arts community.

In 2000, Gerding Edlen Development selected GBD Architects to renovate 5 blocks of historic brewery buildings located in a former industrial area of Portland, Oregon known as the Pearl District. The success of the Brewery Blocks project sparked a rebirth of the neighborhood; in 2005, The Sierra Club recognized the Pearl District as one of the nation’s best neighborhood redevelopment projects. Since that time, the district has continued to thrive; Gerding Eldlen’s latest building in the Pearl District, also designed by GBD Architects, is a 16-story condominium tower known as The Casey.

For The Casey, Gerding Edlen applied for, and received, 55 LEED credits. (Only 52 are required for Platinum certification.) The Casey is also part of a pilot study for an Energy Star for High Rise Multifamily Building rating system. Kelly Saito, managing principal of Gerding Edlen Development, says, “We are extremely proud of this accomplishment, and ultimately we hope that this level of green building will be the norm. We’re trying to find ways to push beyond platinum in an effort to create net zero buildings that generate more energy than they consume and that consume more waste than they produce.”

In addition to the time and effort spent making The Casey represent the cutting edge in sustainability, the developers included another progressive feature in the project: the architecture of the building incorporates public art. Because the Pearl District is home to a large art community, Gerding Edlen wanted to involve local artists. According to The Casey website, “This is not just about hanging art on the walls.”

Portland-based Bullseye Glass Company was enlisted to collaborate on a series of art glass installations for the building. Artist Martha Pfanschmidt designed glass panels for the main lobby which are themed “Northern Lights,” as well as panels for residential elevator lobbies which are themed “The Four Seasons.” Catharine Newell designed a portrait of Casey Jones for the exterior of the building. And Dustin White, of GBD Architects, designed a glass spire that runs almost the full height of the building. In all, fifty artist-designed glass panels are showcased in the building.

The extensive use of art glass will give the building a distinctive character; as expressed by The Casey website,

Residents and the community will be inspired and surrounded by art… During the day, these exterior panels will seem reflective, almost iridescent — but at night, they’ll become a transmitted array of striking color forms. And, we think they will be absolutely brilliant.

Photo Credit: Gerding Edlen Development