Karl Miller Center

Portland State University

Karl Miller Center

Portland State University

Karl Miller Center

Portland State University

Training the Next Generation of Business Leaders

A design collaboration with Behnisch Architekten, the new School of Business establishes a powerful identity for Portland State University's business program, reflecting the school’s international prominence in sustainability.


100,000 sf (renovation); 42,000 sf (addition)

Year Complete


Project Tags

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Creating an Active Hub

The new Karl Miller Center is uniquely positioned to integrate with the city’s rich network of public open space and its diverse urban uses. The architectural brief called for a renovation to the existing 100,000sf, 1970s building and for the seamless integration of an additional 35,000sf.

Benefiting from a diverse program, the design of the Karl Miller Center is centered around a five-story atrium that is animated with activities. By arranging a variety of spaces – informal meeting and study areas, gardens, classrooms, business incubators, student spaces, faculty and administrative offices and retail – to maximize communication and connectivity, the space goes beyond a transitional corridor and creates community for the School, the University and the neighborhood.

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Enhancing the Pedestrian Realm

Rejecting the singular building construction that dominates the 200‘ x 200‘ city blocks, the new Center appears as two distinct buildings sharing a city block. This approach enhances the public realm by providing a more diverse streetscape and by reinvigorating existing links and creating new arteries between the urban center and surrounding pedestrians, transportation and parks. The result creates many pedestrian-friendly and transparent opportunities for future development along 6th Avenue, Broadway and Montgomery Street.

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Activating the Plaza and Atrium

A one-story grade differential between 6th Avenue and Broadway creates two ground levels, further heightening the activity within and around the building. These ground levels are populated with public oriented spaces to activate an exterior plaza and the central, interior gathering space, providing a home for the University and the neighborhood’s civic events.

Expected to achieve LEED Platinum status, this new social hub continues Portland State University‘s reputation as an institution dedicated to social, economic and environmental sustainability while creating a welcome and inviting space within the campus fabric.