Buildings As Part of the Larger Systemic Narrative

by Bora Architects

With people protesting injustice en masse across our nation, the built environment can’t help but be a part of the story. In 1997 Bora worked with KPF Architects to design Portland’s Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse as an emblem that would welcome and uphold justice for all people. With recent events this building has been the backdrop for more than 50 days of unity gatherings, marches and protests in Portland in a relentless outcry against systemic racism and the federal government’s efforts to squelch those speaking up for the oppressed.

Just as we did 23 years ago when we first designed this building, we believe it can be a space of civic good, one 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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