Building Oregon

Bridlemile School (Portland, Oregon)

Bridlemile School (Portland, Oregon)
LC Subject
Architecture, American Architecture--United States
Bridlemile Elementary School (Portland, Oregon)
Johnston, Hollis E.
Creator Display
Hollis Johnston & Koch (architecture firm, 1957-1967) Hollis Eugene Johnston (1894-1967) Robert J. Koch (architect, 1922- )
This image is included in Building Oregon: Architecture of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, a digital collection which provides documentation about the architectural heritage of the Pacific Northwest.
Oregon Historic Site Form. Prepared by Iris Eschen.
University of Oregon Libraries
Style Period
International Style (modern European architecture style)
Work Type
architecture (object genre) built works views (visual works) exterior views public schools (buildings) rooms (interior spaces) architectural drawings (visual works) plans (orthographic projections) floor-plan drawings
Portland >> Clackamas County >> Oregon >> West >> United States Multnomah County >> Oregon >> West >> United States Oregon >> West >> United States United States
Street Address
4300 SW 47th Drive
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Rights Holder
University of Oregon
Building Oregon
Primary Set
Building Oregon
University of Oregon
PPS Historic Building Assessment 2009
Oregon Historic Site Form Bridlemile School 4300 47th Dr Portland, Multnomah County block nbr: lot nbr: tax lot nbr: township: range: section: 1/ 4: LOCATION AND PROPERTY NAME elig. evaluation: eligible/ contributing primary orig use: School secondary orig use: primary style: International secondary style: primary siding: Standard Brick secondary siding: plan type: School ( General) Portland historic name: Bridlemile School primary constr date: 1958 secondary date: height (# stories): 1 total # ineligible resources: 2 ( optional-- use for major addns) current/ other names: Bridlemile Elementary School ( c.) ( c.) orig use comments: prim style comments: sec style comments: location descr: assoc addresses: vcnty address: ( remote sites) siding comments: PROPERTY CHARACTERISTICS farmstead/ cluster name: zip: total # eligible resources: 1 apprx. addrs resource type: Building NR status: RLS survey date: 6/ 23/ 2009 external site #: 142 ( ID# used in city/ agency database) survey project name or other grouping name comments/ notes: ILS survey date: 6/ 23/ 2009 Gen File date: SHPO INFO FOR THIS PROPERTY NR date listed: GROUPINGS / ASSOCIATIONS Optional Information 4300 SW 47th Dr Multnomah County ( former addresses, intersections, etc.) architect: Hollis Johnston & Koch builder: NR date listed: ( indiv listed only; see Grouping for hist dist) 106 Project( s) PPS Historic Building Assessment 2009 Survey & Inventory Project North elevation Printed on: 10/ 14/ 2009 Page 1 of 3 Oregon Historic Site Form Bridlemile School 4300 47th Dr Portland, Multnomah County ARCHITECTURAL / PROPERTY DESCRIPTION ( Include expanded description of the building/ property, setting, significant landscape features, outbuildings, and alterations) HISTORY ( Chronological, descriptive history of the property from its construction through at least the historic period [ preferably to the present]) Summary Description Bridlemile School is located at 4300 SW 47th Ave in Southwest Portland. The campus consists of the primary school building ( 142A), a detached portable classroom ( 142P1), and a covered playshed ( 142B). The finger plan type school incorporates an interior garden to provide maximum light and ventilation to the classrooms. The wood frame building is clad in variegated brick. A moderately pitched gable roof covers the single story building. Fenestration consists of grouped metal frame windows. Architectural Description Bridlemile School is located at 4300 SW 47th Ave in Southwest Portland. The school’s 7.27- acre campus is located at the northwest corner of Hamilton Park. Development in the neighborhood consists primarily of single family residences on large parcels of land built between 1950 and 2000. The campus consists of the primary school building ( 142A), a detached portable classroom ( 142P1), and a covered playshed ( 142B). Three playfields are located at the south end of the parcel. The h- shaped primary school building rests on a poured concrete foundation. The finger plan type school incorporates an interior garden to provide maximum light and ventilation to the classrooms. The wood frame building is clad in variegated brick. A moderately pitched gable roof covers the single story building. Fenestration consists of grouped metal frame windows. The primary entry to the building is at the northwest corner. A system of double loaded corridors provides access to the classrooms, cafeteria, library, and gymnasium. The gymnasium is located at the northeast corner of the school. The gymnasium features exposed brick and a ceiling supported by a prominent glulaminated arch. The library and cafeteria are located immediately adjacent to the entry lobby. The walls of the corridors are also covered in exposed brick with tubular fluorescent lighting fixtures suspended from the ceilings. The classrooms are primarily square or rectangular with built- in cabinetry on the walls opposite and adjacent to the windows. The classroom windows feature an operable awning window beneath a group of three fixed- frame windows. The kindergarten rooms flank a shared interior restroom. Alterations/ Integrity Since the construction of Bridlemile School in 1956, there have been only minimal alterations to the building or campus. The south wing of the primary building was extended in 1965 to provide space for four additional classrooms. In 1969 the portable classroom building was added at the northwest corner of the campus. The covered playshed was built in 1979. Alterations to the interior include replacing the floor tiles in 1983, remodeling the library in 1989, changes to accommodate offices in 1990, and an upgrade to the boiler in 2006 ( Portland Facility Profile). Despite the modest alterations, Bridemile Elementary School retains its historical integrity. Its plan, major community spaces, interior finishes, roof forms, brick cladding, and fenestration are intact. Statement of Significance Built in 1956, Bridlemile School was constructed during a period of modernization and new construction initiated by Portland Public Schools ( PPS) after World War II. In 1945, the citizens of Portland approved a ballot measure that provided $ 5,000,000 over five years to construct, improve, and rehabilitate its public school buildings ( Portland Public Schools 1945: 2). The ballot measure enabled the PPS to respond to the explosive growth in school- age children that had occurred in the city as a result of the arrival of defense plant workers and their families, as well as the deferred maintenance arising from the lack of funds during the depression ( Portland Public Schools 1945: 2- 3). Beginning with this initial bond measure, the PPS embarked on an effort to improve its school facilities through renovations, additions, and new construction of over fifty schools between 1945 and 1970. For the new building program, PPS schools adopted the call of architects and school planners across the country for new types of schools. Nationally known architects including Richard Neutra, the Walter Gropius led Architects Collective, and the Perkins Will architectural firm promoted new school types that reflected both evolving educational practices and design philosophies ( Ogata 2008: 567- 568; Perkins and Cocking 1949: 238- 246). Emphasizing the need for economy and rapid construction, the designers adopted new materials that were standardized and mass produced including steel, plywood, glass block, and aluminum. In many buildings, architects achieved flexibility through the building’s structure by employing non- load- bearing partitions walls and zoned ventilation and heating systems. Folding walls and moveable cabinets provided additional flexibility intended to enable teachers to rearrange rooms based on lesson plan and activities ( Ogata 2008: 568). Although many of the architects for schools in Portland continued to design their schools to be extensible, designers turned away from the two- story schools with centralized massing popularized by Naramore and Jones. Instead many architects adopted the principles of the Modern movement and its regional variant, the Northwest Regional style, choosing to express functional areas through massing and materials to create innovative forms ( McMath 1974: 628). Classrooms featured extensive built- ins that included sinks, slots for bulky rolls of paper, and coat storage. Many buildings incorporated interior courtyards which facilitated access to the outdoors and expanded the opportunities for passive ventilation and daylighting, a hallmark of the Northwest style. In response to the significant growth experienced in southwest Portland after World War II, the district acquired land from the Walther Tract for Printed on: 10/ 14/ 2009 Page 2 of 3 Oregon Historic Site Form Bridlemile School 4300 47th Dr Portland, Multnomah County RESEARCH INFORMATION Title Records Sanborn Maps Obituaries City Directories Census Records Biographical Sources Newspapers Building Permits Property Tax Records SHPO Files State Archives State Library Local Histories Interviews Historic Photographs Local Library: Multnomah County Library University Library: Portland State University Library Historical Society: Oregon Historical Society Other Repository: Portland Public Schools Archives Bibliography: Bibliography McMath, George. “ A Regional Style Comes to the City.” In Space, Style and Structure: Buildings in Northwest America. Ed. Thomas Vaughan, 467- 499. Portland: Oregon Historical Society, 1974. ________. “ The Wood Tradition Expands” 528- 647. Ogata, Amy F. “ Building for Learning in Postwar American Elementary Schools.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 67, no. 4, December 2008: 562- 591. Perkins, Lawrence B and Walter D. Cocking. Schools. New York: Reinhold Publishing Corporation, 1949. Portland Public Schools Chronology Binder. Portland Public Schools. Repairing, Rehabilitating and Modernizing the School Plant. Portland: Portland Public Schools. Office of the Superintendent, 1945. _______. Bridlemile Elementary School. Facility Profile. Ritz, Richard. E. Architects of Oregon. A Biographical Dictionary of Architects Deceased – 19th and 20th Centuries. Portland: Lair Hill Publishing, 2003. Sanborn Map Company 1924- 1928, 1908- Dec. 1950 Sanborn Maps, Multnomah County Public Library, Portland, Oregon. Available at: https:// catalog. multcolib. org/ validate? url= http% 3A% 2F% 2F0- sanborn. umi. com. catalog. multcolib. org% 3A80% 2F. Accessed June 16, 2009. Snyder, Eugene E. Portland Names and Neighborhoods. Their Historic Origins. Portland: Binforrd & Mort Publishing; 1st edition 1979. ( Check all of the basic sources consulted and cite specific important sources) $ 49,500. The district subsequently sold a portion of the land to the city for $ 19,455. Named for the surrounding subdivision, the Bridlemile school was constructed for $ 809,575.00 ( Snyder 1979: 236, Portland Chronology Binder). The architects of Bridlemile School, Johnston & Koch, were experienced in the design of public facilities in Oregon. Johnston graduated from Jefferson High School in Portland and the University of Oregon Architecture School. Johnston later worked with several prominent architects including Lawrence & Holford and Sutton & Whitney before establishing a solo practice in 1930. During the depression Johnston served as chief consulting architect for the U. S. Corps of Engineers on the Bonneville Dam Project. He subsequently worked with Herman Brookman before founding the firm of Stanton & Johnston with A. Glenn Stanton. Work during this period included the design of military projects, structures for the new Lewis & Clark College Campus, and the Stadium Branch of the U. S. Nation Bank. After the War, Johnston reestablished his own practice. In 1957 he invited Robert J. Koch, an employee since 1946, to become his partner. Johnston is known for his work on the Portland Town Club ( 1931- NRHP) by Johnson, Wallwork & Johnston, the Watson/ Eastman house ( 1928- NRHP), the Joseph Gerber House, and the new Lincoln High School ( Ritz 2003: 214- 215). Bridlemile Elementary School is the only PPS building that Johnston desgined during his partnership with Koch. A good example of the finger plan type school that retains its integrity with its floor plan, interior finishes, fenestration, and cladding, Bridlemile School is recommended as eligible for the NRHP. The school was built in response to the residential development in southwest Portland during the PPS program of post- war construction and is eligible for the NRHP under Criterion A. Although designed by a successful architecture firm in Portland, archival research does not indicate that the school was a major commission. However, the building is a good example of the use of the finger plan and the use of materials to facilitate rapid construction of new buildings after World War II. It is, therefore, eligible for the NRHP under Criterion C. Printed on: 10/ 14/ 2009 Page 3 of 3 West elevation facing southeast South elevation North Elevation Portable facing northwest Bridlemile School Exterior Photos ENTRIX, 2009 East elevation Corridor facing south Classroom facing north Classroom built- in Cafetorium facing east Boiler Bridlemile School Interior Photos ENTRIX, 2009 Bridlemile School 4300 SW 47th Ave, Portland OR, 97221 Building Periods 1. Main Building ( 142A), 1956 2. Main Bldg Add ( 142A), 1965 3. Classroom Add ( 142P), 1969 4. Play Shed ( 142B), 1977 SW 47th Dr SW Hamilton St Aerial photo © 2009 Metro, Portland OR Imagery Date: July 12, 2007 Architectural rendering of Bridlemile School by C. R. Butcher, 1957. View Site in Google Maps Historical Significance and Building Integrity Contrib: High Significance Contrib: Moderate Signif. Non- Contributing 0’ 50’ 100’ 200’ N sandy Blvd Lombard st powell Blvd 82nd ave MLK jr b lvd 1 2 3 4