Tag: 7631 NE Glisan

Harka Building Taking Form

Renovation work recently increased at Harka Architecture‘s new headquarters, located at 7631 NE Glisan Street. Crews are converting the 1940 Art Deco structure into a modern office with a classic style. Alterations to the building are significant. However, the building owner has taken care to keep the original architectural style intact.

As an environmentally focused architecture design firm, Harka is selective in how they are completing this project. “We are doing a very deep high-performance retrofit of the space while using non-toxic, healthy materials,” said Patrick Donaldson, Principal Architect with Harka Architecture. This development employs a low carbon construction ethic that favors reuse and building efficiency. Taking that approach has kept the renovation on a slower schedule. However, paperwork delays occurred before work could begin, pushing buildout dates further back. Donaldson had to clear decades of un-permitted work by previous owners before receiving approval on the new alterations.

Those project delays seem to be in the past, and the building already shows signs of improvement. While replacing the roof, the exterior wall height increased by several feet. New high-efficiency windows have replaced the original single-pane glass, and the second street-facing door became a new window.

The small building is full of 1940’s character, and work to date has only enacted those features. Months of construction are still needed to restore this building. However, the final form is now evident, reassuring this building’s admirers that it is in good hands with the new owners.


Renderings provided by Harka Architecture

Art Deco Restoration

Construction is underway at the small Art Deco building located at 7631 NE Glisan Street. Restoration plans for this building started back at the beginning of 2020, but past permit issues caused work delays.

Constructed in 1940 as a dentist’s office, it’s the loan example of Art Deco architecture in the area. “The original owner was Herbert E. Craner, a Portland dentist, who practiced in this building for many years. When he died in 1957, his son Eugene took over the business.” Recounted Patricia Sanders, a local Montavilla historian.

Patrick Donaldson, the building’s owner, discover its dental history and found records of what Eugene Craner later did with the property. “His son, [Eugene], is the one that filled out the building application in 1983 to turn it into Montavilla Quality Pizza – a take-out pizza joint,” said Donaldson.

It turned out that the 1983 permit was the most recent one filed with the city before Donaldson started work. “That, in fact, was the last permit legally pulled on the space, despite the number of businesses that have occupied the building. I am still wrangling with the city to get a permit approved based on this old use.” Explained Donaldson, speaking a few months back.

Donaldson bought the building to become the new home of his architecture firm Harka Architecture. To accommodate his business, much of the interior and the entire roof will need rebuilding. The exterior walls are now extended up by a few feet, allowing space to install wood I-beams that will support a new roof.

A recent permit for the project will add an accessible ramp to the building and change occupancy classification from F1 to B. With the addition of the ramp and the new higher walls, the building’s appearance will vary slightly from its original form. However, much of its character seems to be intact.

This project differs from other similar updates on the street. It’s a restoration of a distinct architectural style performed by an architect for an architectural firm’s office. Acting as both a showpiece of architectural style and a classic building’s rehabilitation, much of its final look will be a statement about the new occupants and their respect for history.

Cover Image by Weston Ruter

Glisan Art Deco Icon Becoming an Architecture Office.

Harka Architecture will soon relocate to 7631 NE Glisan Street, moving from the Olympic Mills building. Patrick Donaldson, Principal Architect at Harka Architecture, bought the building on Glisan in June of 2019. Donaldson lives nearby this location and is encouraged that other businesses are starting to pop up along this stretch NE Glisan.

“The building is the perfect size for my office,” wrote Donaldson via email. “I played rugby at Montavilla park for years and rode my bicycle past this little building all the time. It is a great little example of Art Deco architecture with the curved walls and entry.”

Currently the only active building permit is a change of occupancy, however more work is in the future. Donaldson plans to repaint the building in new colors and make energy efficient upgrades. The efficiencies will be achieved through upgrading to high performance windows and replacing the gas furnace with an electric heat pump, along with a heat recovery ventilator.

Harka Architecture specializes in low carbon and high performance architecture. This remodel will showcase some of their techniques. They plan to use carbon neutral insulation such as lambs wool and Gutex. Sealing as many air leaks as possible, will also vastly improve the effectiveness of the insulation in this 80 year old building.

Completed in 1940, this structure has housed many business. Over the last 20 years, local residents have seen over a half dozen businesses at that location. Businesses with many different offerings.

Touchstone Coffee House
Grandpa Jimmy’s Southern Fried Fish
Hollywood Tattoo
Coconut Cafe
Hillbilly’s Herbs and Glass
Baba Ali Somalia Cuisine

It seems fitting that the new life for this Art Deco building would come from an architect. This tiny building manges to contain an abundance of character in just 833 square feet. Although it could be assumed that this building once blended in on NE Glisan, it is equally possible it has always been a standout.

With the new owner seeking a permanent location for his office, it is likely that we will see stability in this location. Montavilla is fortunate to retain this building and to receive and new anchor business on NE Glisan.