Buildings As Part of the Larger Systemic Narrative

by Bora Architects

With people protesting injustice en masse across The United States, the built environment can’t help but be a part of the story. Buildings are a place for communities and people to gather and are part of the larger systemic narrative.

In 1997 Bora worked with KPF Architects to design Portland’s Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse. The design and building stands as an emblem that would welcome and uphold justice for all people. In response to police brutality and the Murder of George Floyd, Portland’s Courthouse has been a backdrop. For more than 50 days people came together in, unity gatherings, marches, and protests in a relentless outcry against systemic racism. Demonstrators also called out the federal government’s efforts to squelch those speaking up for the oppressed.

Just as we did 23 years ago when we first designed the Courthouse building, we believe it can be a space of civic good. A space that supports a new system of justice that is neither punitive or carceral. But buildings are not neutral, and we decry any efforts that threaten to erode these ideals of our first-amendment rights. More than any building, we defend those speaking out against injustice–because Black Lives Matter.

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