The new designs released last week for the Oregon Sustainability Center show that the building is no longer slated to be a sexy cylinder with a giant leaf-shaped solar panel on top (subtle, guys), downsizing to a more traditional, boxier shape that also hacked $11 million off the project cost.

The Sustainability Center and its $75 million budget garnered some criticism when Portland city council approved the project last summer. Sure, the building is planned to be one of the most environmentally sustainable ever constructed, but is spending $65 million in public funds on a gleaming eco-innovation tower really economically sustainable? As I said after the vote, it will be beyond irony to have this pricey sustainability tower rise over a bus mall where public transit service has been hacked back due to lack of funding. I'd rather see the city and Portland Development Commission scrounge up money to fix up our current basic, green infrastructure than pour millions into this shiny new idea.

But the designers at Gerding Edlen, SERA Architects and GBD architects have brought the total project cost down to $64.4 million—including the cost of rerouting the streetcar through the building. Check out the new schematics below the cut:



There's a public meeting to comment on the design and project next Wednesday, May 11th, at the AIA Center (403 NW 11th) from 6-8pm.