The Civic

The Civic

Ziba Design, Portland, Oregon, 2005


Gerding/Edlen, a progressive and visionary team of developers, wanted to transform a city block into a mixed-use building. The site is located in an atypical residential location on Burnside Street, a diverse, gritty urban Portland street sprinkled with few modern comforts.
Our research indicated that the target buyers were young “cultural creatives” who were highly skeptical of traditional marketing. To connect to the target, we proposed opening B Street, an art gallery in place of a typical real estate sales office.
The B Street Gallery opened with commissioned work from local emerging artists who were asked to reflect on the culture of Burnside. Every three months, a new group of work is installed; this enables the gallery to stay fresh and relevant to the art community. The north wall of the space is a floor-to-ceiling chalkboard with an elaborate drawing done as collaboration between two artists who document their journey up and down Burnside. The furniture in the space is made from large old-growth beams reclaimed from the building site, reflecting the values of both the developers and the potential buyers.
A large sculpture/interactive kiosk sits in the center of the space, the inspiration for which comes from 1970s video games. This sculpture/kiosk replaces the traditional and static architectural scale model, allowing visitors to browse through the building’s floor plans and amenities with an Atari joystick. “I Love Burnside” T-shirts are displayed as product on shelves against the wall.

Juror Notes

The unconventional approach first attracted us.
Artistic experience, more about the surroundings than the building itself.
Strange package: feels like an effective way of selling a building.
Sells a cultural experience: the gallery might not exist, but the culture it promotes does.

Collections: AIGA 365: 27 (2006)
Repository: Denver Art Museum
Discipline: Experience design
Format: Exhibit, Interaction, Game


Design firm
Ziba Design
Creative director
Clancy Boyer
Associate creative director
Steve McCallion
Art director
David Ewald
Elizabeth Blades, David Ewald
Jenn Manley Lee, Ildefonso Resuello, Miho Tada
ZIBA Design
Interactive designers
Tom Lakovic, Greg Martin
Information architects
Tom Lakovic, Greg Martin
Content strategist
Steve McCallion
Beth Kluender
Project manager
Jacqueline Sella Cobbett
Structural designer
Paul Petri
Clancy Boyer
Acme Scenic + Display
Acme Scenic + Display
AG Buch, Jensen
Gerding/Edlen Development