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Literary Arts Headquarters

Portland, Oregon

Literary Arts Headquarters

Portland, Oregon

This building will be transformational for Literary Arts. Not only will it be one of the largest physical centers in the nation for literature and storytelling, but it will also stand as a love letter to this city that has been our home for four decades.”

Andrew Proctor, Executive Director at Literary Arts

The new headquarters for Portland nonprofit Literary Arts will be a vibrant community and cultural hub within Portland’s Central Eastside, reimagining a 1904 building along Southeast Grand Avenue as a welcoming place for the public that embraces the literary community.

Having outgrown their former space downtown, Literary Arts worked with Bora to tour more than 40 buildings before being captivated by the historic building’s potential to achieve their mission of engaging readers and supporting writers. Key to our pro-bono design was creating a space that would not only benefit Literary Arts staff, but also the people it serves—readers, writers, and youth.

The new headquarters will house a café and bookstore for the public, providing a 170% increase in size over the nonprofit’s former home and serving as one of the largest physical centers in the nation for literature and storytelling. Located at ground level to welcome the public in, the bookstore will feature movable shelves that can easily transform the space into a 75-seat auditorium. An open mezzanine will offer room for community events, while the floor above is dedicated to Literary Arts staff for privacy to work in proximity. Below the main level, a seminar room and recording studio will accommodate Literary Arts’ podcast, author talks, and teaching opportunities. A seismic upgrade, fire sprinklers, and new building systems will extend the life of the historic structure.

Preserving the beauty of the building’s original wood floors, exposed wood structure, and extensive brickwork, the new headquarters celebrates Portland history and the arts community hand in hand, nurturing a cultural experience centered around writing, storytelling, and the exchange of ideas. 




O’Neill Construction Group
Edlen & Co.