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Creative Science School (Portland, Oregon)
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Object NameCreative Science School (Portland, Oregon)
ViewOregon Historic Site Form. Prepared by Iris Eschen.
Alternate NameClark School (Portland, Oregon)
William Clark School (Portland, Oregon)
Creator/RoleHollis Eugene Johnston (1894-1967)
CreatorJohnston, Hollis E.
CountryUnited States
Site Detail1231 SE 92nd Avenue
Photograph Date2009
CatalogerEdward H. Teague
Object Typearchitecture
built works
views (visual works)
exterior views
schools (buildings)
public schools (buildings)
architectural drawings (visual works)
plans (orthographic projections)
floor plans
Period/StyleFifties modern
Materials/TechniqueBrick; Metal
ReferencePPS Historic Building Assessment 2009
NotesOregon Historic Site Form Creative Science School 1231 92nd Ave Portland, Multnomah County block nbr: lot nbr: tax lot nbr: R33236 township: range: section: 1/ 4: LOCATION AND PROPERTY NAME elig. evaluation: eligible/ significant primary orig use: School secondary orig use: primary style: International secondary style: primary siding: Standard Brick secondary siding: Metal: Other/ Undefined plan type: School ( General) Portland historic name: Creative Science School primary constr date: 1955 secondary date: 2008 height (# stories): 1 total # ineligible resources: 0 ( optional-- use for major addns) current/ other names: Clark School, William Clark School ( c.) ( c.) orig use comments: prim style comments: Fifties modern sec style comments: location descr: assoc addresses: vcnty address: ( remote sites) siding comments: Red brick PROPERTY CHARACTERISTICS farmstead/ cluster name: zip: total # eligible resources: 1 apprx. addrs resource type: Building NR status: RLS survey date: 7/ 8/ 2009 external site #: 240 ( ID# used in city/ agency database) survey project name or other grouping name comments/ notes: HRI Rank II. ILS survey date: 7/ 8/ 2009 Gen File date: SHPO INFO FOR THIS PROPERTY NR date listed: GROUPINGS / ASSOCIATIONS Optional Information 1231 SE 92nd Ave Multnomah County ( former addresses, intersections, etc.) architect: Johnson, Hollis ( main bldg) builder: NR date listed: ( indiv listed only; see Grouping for hist dist) 106 Project( s) PPS Historic Building Assessment 2009 Survey & Inventory Project East and north elevation Printed on: 10/ 14/ 2009 Page 1 of 4 Oregon Historic Site Form Creative Science School 1231 92nd Ave 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]) Description Summary The William Clark Elementary School is a one story brick veneer building designed in the International style. The campus consists of the 1955 single story brick- faced building that forms a modified h- shaped plan. The single- story brick wings that comprise the building are separated by a courtyard and form a variation on a finger plan type school. The building features International style elements such as a linear composition and an asymmetrical plan. In addition, bands of aluminum windows, flat roofs, overhangs, and a lack of ornamentation serves to reinforce the ideals of functionalism and minimalism. Architectural Description The William Clark Elementary School is situated in the Montavilla neighborhood of East Portland at 1231 SE 92nd Avenue. The campus occupies a long, narrow parcel between SE 92nd Avenue on the east and SE 89th Avenue on the west. The school is located on the east end of the campus, and parking is to the north. Recreational facilities include play fields at the western end of the campus, and playgrounds at the south end of the campus. Berrydale Park is located immediately to the north of the school campus. The 1955 William Clark Elementary School features an h- shaped, modified finger plan. Two wings of the school, oriented on a north- south axis, are connected by a central wing that is oriented east- west. The entrance foyer, administrative offices, cafeteria, and kitchen are located along the central wing. Rectangular classrooms are located along the double- loaded corridors within the east and west wings. At the north end of the west wing ( or the top of the spine that forms the " H") is the gymnasium. An exterior courtyard is located between the two classrooms wings. Doorways, located at the end of the corridors and wings, provide access to the expansive school grounds. The single story International style building is constructed of brick arranged in rows of three and four stretchers separated by headers. The horizontal emphasis is achieved through the long single story buildings that comprise the William Clark Elementary School, as well as the bands of metal hopper windows. The only vertical element is the brick and metal smoke stack. Glass block windows are located along the exterior walls of prominent public spaces such as the gymnasium and cafeteria. The building is capped by flat roofs and low sloped gable roofs at the cafeteria and gymnasium. All of the roofs feature metal caps along the parapet and narrow eaves. The primary entrance, which is located along the east ( front) elevation, is recessed beneath the roof of the east wing. This entrance is marked by four metal doors with center lights and transoms. Secondary entrances, located at the end of corridors or building wings, are slightly recessed within the walls of the building. The building rests on a concrete foundation. The principal entrance opens into a foyer that is located between two corridors. The main corridor extends east- west through the middle of the building. The corridor receives ample light from the windows that flank the entry doors and line the exterior walls that open into the courtyard. The double- loaded corridors feature varnished brick and rubber base moldings. Tubular fluorescent light fixtures are suspended from the acoustic tile clad ceiling. Flooring throughout the building consists of asphalt tile. The building is heated by boilers that are located off the west corridor. Metal heating units are located in the hallways and console units are located beneath classroom windows. The primary public spaces for the building are centrally located around the entry door. The foyer, which is flanked by the administrative offices and faculty dining room, features wood surrounds, molding, and an elevated ceiling. The cafeteria, which is lighted with glass block windows, features birch tongue and groove boards along the walls and ceiling and wood ceiling beams. A stage, which gives additional functionality to use the space as an auditorium, is located at the west end of the cafeteria. The gymnasium is located at the northwest side of the building, providing easy access to the playgrounds and playfields. The double height space features varnished brick walls and wood ceiling beams. Classrooms feature birch doors with center lights. The classrooms are rectangular in plan with birch cupboards and closets located along one end of the room. Windows line the exterior walls of the classrooms. Additional storage cupboards are located beneath the window. Alterations/ Integrity Clark Elementary School retains a high degree of integrity. Additions include a small restroom facility within a storage room along the west corridor ( 1963) and the remodeling of several classrooms into a media center also along the west corridor ( 1988). In addition, the interior door windows were replaced with wire glass ( 1988) and corridor roll- up screens were welded in the " up" position so as not to block off sections of the building ( 1993) ( Clark Facility Plan, Clark Facility Profile). These alterations have not affected the design, materials, workmanship and feeling associated with the 1955 William Clark Elementary School. Printed on: 10/ 14/ 2009 Page 2 of 4 Oregon Historic Site Form Creative Science School 1231 92nd Ave 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: PPS Archives Bibliography: Bibliography 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. School Chronology Binder. PPS Archives, Portland, Oregon. _______. Clark Elementary School. Facility Plan. _______. Clark Elementary School. Facility Profile. ( Check all of the basic sources consulted and cite specific important sources) Statement of Significance Built in 1955, the former William Clark Elementary School ( now Creative Science 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). Between 1934 and 1944 the increases in enrollment in schools near present- day Clark Elementary were noted as significant. The large percentage increases in student enrollment during this period were witnessed at Rigler ( 62%), Gregory Heights ( 57.3%), and Rose City Park ( 38%) ( Portland Public Schools 1945: 25). Beginning with the 1945 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 Perkins Will 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, and aluminum. In many buildings, architects achieved flexibility through the building's structure by employing non load- bearing partition 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). The architect of the Creative Science School, Hollis Johnston, adopted the building program and principles that dominated the discourse for school design during the second half of the twentieth century. Hollis Johnson, a graduate of Jefferson High School in Portland and the University of Oregon Architecture School, was an experienced designer of schools and other public facilities. Johnston 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. 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. In addition to William Clark Elementary, he designed Bridlemile Elementary ( Ritz 2002: 214- 215). Creative Science School is a modified version of the finger plan type school that became popular in the post- war period. Similar to other schools of this type, Creative Science School features a single story h- shaped building with classrooms separated by courtyards. The construction utilized wood frame with brick veneer, which allowed for economic building and ease of expansion. Mass produced materials including aluminum windows and glass block, readily available after the conversion of the defense industries to manufacturing facilities, provide economical decoration. Creative Science School retains excellent integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association with its plan and exterior and interior finishes. The 1955 International style influenced school is recommended as eligible for the National Register of Historic Places ( NRHP) for its association with the PPS program of post- war construction. The school is a strong example of the principles that characterized the design of schools during this era; therefore, it is eligible for listing in the NRHP under Criterion A. While the school was designed by notable Portland architect Hollis Johnston, his design for Clark School is not considered a significant example of his work. However, the character defining floor plan and intact exterior and interior details of the school provides a good example of the International style influenced finger plan schools constructed during the post- war years. The Creative Science School is therefore eligible for listing in the NRHP under Criterion C. Printed on: 10/ 14/ 2009 Page 3 of 4 Oregon Historic Site Form Creative Science School 1231 92nd Ave Portland, Multnomah County Ritz, Richard. E. Architects of Oregon. A Biographical Dictionary of Architects Deceased – 19th and 20th Centuries. Portland: Lair Hill Publishing, 2003. Printed on: 10/ 14/ 2009 Page 4 of 4 Main building ( 240A), east ( front) and north ( side) elevations, looking southwest. Main building ( 240A), south ( side) elevations and courtyard, looking north. Main building ( 240A), west ( side) elevation, looking north. Main building ( 240A), west ( rear) and south ( side) elevations, looking southeast. Main building ( 240A), north ( side) elevation, looking south. Creative Science School Exterior Photos ENTRIX, 2009 Main building ( 240A), entrance foyer, looking east. Main building ( 240A), central hallway, looking west. Main building ( 240 A), cafeteria/ multipurpose room, looking west. Main building ( 240A), gymnasium, looking west. Main building ( 240A), original classroom closets, looking southwest Creative Science School Interior Photos ENTRIX, 2009 Creative Science School ( Clark) 1231 NE 92nd Ave, Portland OR, 97216 Building Periods 1. Main Building ( 240A), 1955 SE 92nd Ave Architectural rending of Clark School, 1955. View Site in Google Maps Aerial photo © 2009 Metro, Portland OR Imagery Date: July 12, 2007 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
Metadata NotesDescription of this work is based initially on documentation supplied by the image provider. It is often the case with gift slides that very little information is provided. Review and updating of descriptive information by the collection cataloger is ongoing.
Digital CollectionBuilding Oregon: Architecture of Oregon & the Pacific Northwest
Source CollectionUniversity of Oregon Libraries
PublisherUniversity of Oregon Libraries
Copyright© University of Oregon. This image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License ( ). Acknowledgement of the University of Oregon Libraries a
File NameOR_Multnomah_Portland_Creative.pdf
Contributing InstitutionUniversity of Oregon Libraries
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