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Pat Harrington, Former Bora Managing Principal, Awarded Honorary Membership by the American Institute of Architects

by Ashley Cartmel

For almost three decades, Pat leveraged architecture to benefit artistic communities nationwide whether helping create performing arts centers for major universities and urban communities or offering pro bono design services to local northwest arts organizations. His expertise in arts management, the functional requirements for major performance venues, and the fiscal and operational complexities of these facilities, shaped dozens of arts projects across the country, helping clients create both aesthetically beautiful and financially successful performance spaces. 

At home in Portland, he welcomed the incubation of arts organizations within Bora’s own office, leading to pro-bono design projects that have transformed performance and administrative spaces for several major artistic entities. These efforts earned Bora its first AIA National Design Award as well as the prestigious Business in the Arts Innovation Award from Forbes Magazine and the National Business Committee for the Arts.

Hired as the first Executive Director of the Portland Center for Performing Arts in 1980, Pat managed the planning, design, capital campaign, public bond election, construction and eventual operation of this four-theater complex in downtown Portland.  His leadership was instrumental in steering this transformational project to success not only as a community asset but as a piece of architectural design. He hired and worked alongside the joint venture architecture team of Barton Myers Associates, Bora, and ELS Landscape Architecture Studio for six years to realize both the renovation of the historic 1928 Paramount Theater and the construction of a 127,000 square foot new theater building.  Soon thereafter, Bora hired Pat to help build the firm’s nationwide portfolio of arts projects, which now includes the renowned Mondavi Center at UC Davis, the Mesa Arts Center in Arizona, and the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center in Midland, Texas.

In addition to his work for the arts, Pat spent nearly 20 years in leadership positions for the Architectural Foundation of Oregon, which creates awareness of the state’s designed environment and educates the public about how design shapes communities. During his 20 years as Managing Principal, Pat’s integrity and generosity in his management practices nurtured a widely respected firm culture that includes the first Paid Family Leave Policy by an architecture firm in Oregon, the establishment of scholarships and internships to help provide opportunities for minorities within the field, and the building of the Bora Beach House, a special retreat for firm employees.

Through his unwavering commitment to uphold the best aspects of the architectural profession — inspirational design, meaningful partnerships, responsibility to place, and betterment of the human condition – Pat has embodied the very essence of this honorary designation.