About The Armory
The Home of Portland Center Stage
Originally built in 1891 as the National Guard Armory Annex, The Armory became the home of Portland Center Stage in 2006, after a $36.1 million renovation. It was the first building on the National Register of Historic Places, and the first performing arts facility in the country, to achieve the US Green Building Council’s LEED Platinum rating. Around 150,000 patrons visit The Armory each year to attend more than 400 performances in its two theaters; roughly 13,000 of these annual visitors are from outside the Portland area.
From the beginning, The Armory was envisioned as much more than a new venue for live performance. Partners agreed that this new community destination should stand as a testament to and celebration of the values that have given Portland its distinctive character and national reputation. It’s no secret that sustainability ranks highly on the short list of core Portland values.
Here are just a handful of the many innovative technologies and integrated systems that helped make The Armory to become the first building on the National Register of Historic Places, and the first performing arts facility in the country, to achieve the US Green Building Council’s highest certification level: LEED Platinum.
Theater venues require comparatively massive amounts of energy to operate throughout the year and keep guests comfortable during performances. Largely due to the intricate integration of mechanical, electrical and information systems, The Armory is able to perform 30% more efficiently than code, even with these massive energy needs.
The water fixtures in The Armory are ultra-low-flow fixtures and all of the plants installed are native and/or drought tolerant, requiring minimal water and reducing exterior irrigation. The building is also set up to harvest and store rainwater to reduce the amount of potable water used.
Theater spaces are notoriously difficult to ventilate and keep at a comfortable temperature. The Armory's U.S. Bank Main Stage features an air flow cavity under seating risers and distribution vents under every other seat. The result is a more comfortable theater experience that’s also quieter and more efficient than the industry standard. Upstairs, in the rehearsal and administrative environs, modular flooring is raised 9 inches from the level’s foundation, allowing under-floor air flow and workspace specific vents. Access to every square foot of this flooring allows for the stow-away of power and data cables and ease of their repair or redirection.
Lighting and Heat
Administrative and lobby spaces are lit by a battery of skylights throughout the daylight hours. Many of these skylights and several windows are manually operable to allow fresh air and building flush-out without the extensive use of machinery. Lobby spaces treat guests to radiant heat from hot water tubes embedded in the cement flooring.
In offices and rehearsal rooms, chilled beams are used for individualized comfort and greater efficiency. Not much larger than two standard shop lights, these chilled beams employ a small fan blowing air past tubes of regionally chilled water to cool individual workstations. Energy-efficient illumination is built into the same fixture.
Construction crews at The Armory worked tirelessly to maximize recycling of construction waste, diverting over 95% of it away from landfills. Wherever possible, contractors sought local and recycled building materials – 25% of all materials contain recycled content and 45% of materials were regionally manufactured.
Patrons have the option to leave their playbills behind for re-use or read them online or on their phones. Staff continue to adopt recycling habits and educational programs contribute to continuous improvement in resource efficiency at both individual and collective scales at The Armory.
Day to Day Operations
The pursuit of sustainability continues for all of us who do our work here every day. We’re saving “oopsie” prints from our laser printers and stapling them together as notepads. Our cleaning crews use only environmentally sensitive cleaning products. More staff than ever are commuting to work via carpool, public transportation or bicycle.
In truth, sustainability is more a process than an endpoint, and there are always additional steps to take and new discoveries to make on the path of sustainability. We know you’ll be as inspired as we are to engage in the pursuit of a more sustainable future in Portland.
On the first and third Saturdays of each month during the regular performance season, The Armory hosts free public tours. Get the full story of how the Armory Annex transformed from an 1891 military drilling site to public meeting space to beer storage facility to one of the world’s most sustainable performing arts centers. See the inner workings of Portland’s largest professional theater company, while learning about our one-of-a-kind LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum facility. Tours are from noon to 1 p.m. and meet at the concierge desk inside the lobby of the building.
NOTE: We look forward to resuming public tours as soon as we determine it's safe for our docents and patrons to gather and move as a group throughout The Armory.
For more information about public tours, call the concierge at 503-445-3727.