Pioneer Courthouse Square

Founding members of the firm Marc Bevens and Cameron Hyde served on the original design team for Pioneer Courthouse Square, a large, outdoor public plaza designed by the late Will Martin. This project gave Soderstrom Architects the unique opportunity to participate in the creation of a vital and central outdoor “room” that captures the spirit of unification and diversity in Portland.

Previously a parking lot, Pioneer Courthouse Square has since earned its title as “Portland’s Downtown Living Room.” The lower Square is used for large performances and a speaker’s podium is provided for smaller gatherings. The square has many design features that invite people to visit or stop there, but it is also designed to support pedestrian traffic and Portland’s transit system.


City of Portland

Project Type

Public Plaza

Construction Type

New Construction


Portland, Oregon


40,000 SF


public plaza, fountain, outdoor seating


Progressive Architecture Honor Award, 1981

Great Park Place Award, Project for Public Spaces Urban Parks Institute, 2001

4th Best Public Square in the World, Project for Public Spaces, 2004

3rd Best Public Square in the US and Canada, Project for Public Spaces, 2005-current

Top 10 Great Public Spaces in America, American Planning Association, 2008

More Projects