Training the Next Generation of Business Leaders

Karl Miller Center

Portland State University

A design collaboration with Behnisch Architekten, the LEED Platinum Karl Miller Center establishes a powerful identity for Portland State University’s School of Business, reflecting its international prominence in sustainability.


145,000 sf


Portland, OR

Year Complete


University Building: Karl Miller Center: Light that Breathes
The Plan, March 28, 2018

Karl Miller Center, Portland State University / Behnisch Architekten + SRG Partnership
Arch Daily, November 19, 2018

Super‑Sustainable Addition to Business School Quickly Becomes Center of Portland State Campus
Metropolis, August 31, 2018

2019 American Architecture Award — The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design American Architecture Awards

2019 Engineering Excellence Honor Award — ACEC Oregon

2019 Best Project, Higher Education Category — ENR Mountain States Awards

2018 Honor Award — AIA New England Design Awards

2018 Award of Merit — AIA Seattle Honor Awards

2018 Honorable Mention — IIDA Oregon Design Excellence Awards

2018 2nd Place, Education Category — DJC Oregon TopProjects

PSU’s commitment to social, economic and environmental sustainability comes to life in the Karl Miller Center. Its strong sense of place has made it a favorite building for many people across our campus and throughout Portland. Stephen Percy, PSU President

Creating an Active Hub

The Karl Miller Center is uniquely positioned to integrate with the city’s rich network of public open space and its diverse urban uses.

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.

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.

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.

Certified LEED Platinum, 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.