Columbia Building

Portland, OR
Functional Elegance

Located adjacent to the rich habitat of the Columbia Slough, a remnant of historic wetlands between the Sandy and Willamette Rivers and a discharge to the Columbia River, Portland’s Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant (CBWTP) is Oregon’s largest water treatment facility. Serving 614,000 customers, the plant operates around the clock to treat an average of 80-90 million gallons of sewage daily through a complex series of mechanical and biological processes.

Working with an interdisciplinary team of architects, engineers, and storytellers, Knot Studio transformed the Columbia Building Wastewater Treatment Plant’s (CBWTP) existing formal landscape into high-value habitat by integrating native plant communities. This landscape intervention reconnects the campus core to the adjacent Columbia Slough ecosystem while integrating features that trace the historical interface between stormwater and wastewater systems. The project scope includes re-aligning the vehicular entry sequence through the plant, upgrading employee parking to meet current stormwater treatment design standards, and an estimated 8000 square foot extensive eco-roof over the new engineering building.

The work included educational story-telling components in conjunction with artist John Grade.

2014 Oregon ASLA Award of Excellence
2012 Oregon ASLA Merit Award - Unbuilt
Portland Bureau of Environmental Services
Skylab Architecture
USGBC LEED Certification
The site’s final landscape design merges architecture and site, blending public access and
amenities within secure areas, and creating a juxtaposition exploring technical and natural