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This office building was designed to last 500 years

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On a corner in a historic district in downtown Portland, Oregon, a new office building has just started what could be a very long tenure. If its builders got everything right, it will still be standing there five centuries from now.

The 5-story, 58,000-square-foot mixed-use commercial building was specifically designed to last 500 years—with a super strong structure, resilient design, and a suite of on-site infrastructures that will allow it to make its own power, harvest its own water, and adapt to huge swings in the climate for centuries to come. Designed and partly developed by ZGF Architects along with PAE Engineers, also the main tenant, its rents cost only about 8% more than a conventional office.

[Photo: Benjamin Benschneider/courtesy PAE Engineers/ZGF Architects]The building has been designed to meet the standard of the Living Building Challenge, a green-building-certification system that’s regarded as one of the most difficult to achieve. Prioritizing designs that have net positive impacts on the environment, Living Building Challenge buildings create more energy than they use, clean and reuse water, and absorb more carbon dioxide emissions than they produce. It’s a high bar, and one typically met by only high-end homes or large-scale trophy buildings for organizations with deep pockets, including several Google offices, a sustainable design center at Georgia Tech, and the headquarters of the Bullitt Foundation in Seattle.

[Photo: Lara Swimmer/courtesy PAE Engineers/ZGF Architects]For the project in Portland, the developers aimed to show that modest-sized buildings could be built to the standard in a way that hit........

© Fast Company

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