Halprin Open Space Sequence
NR Reference Number: 13000058
SW Open Spaces and Pedestrian Malls from Lincoln Street to Clay Street, Portland, OR
Constructed between 1966 and 1970 as a vital part of the South Auditorium Urban Renewal District, the
Halprin Open Space Sequence is nationally significant under Criterion C for Landscape Architecture.
Specifically, it is a masterwork by transformative landscape architect Lawrence Halprin. This work is one of the
largest, most complex, comprehensive and sophisticated expressions of Halprin 's concepts for public plazas.
The work is also seminal in that it is the first full expression of concepts that he would later repeat in varying
formats for the next four decades. As characterized by Kenneth Helphand, Knight Professor Emeritus of
Landscape Architecture at the University of Oregon,
"The Portland Open Space Sequence . . . is an acknowledged masterpiece of modern design.
Halprin is one of the great landscape architects of the twentieth century . His work helped
revitalize the profession in the United States and was a model of design that was creative,
innovative and addressed the urban condition. The Portland fountains are known worldwide ...
It would not overstate the case to say that they have been a pilgrimage site for design
professionals, for they changed the concept of the urban fountain and were the catalyst for a
revivification of fountain and urban open space design."
The Halprin Open Space Sequence is also locally significant under Criterion A for Community Development.
Halprin's plazas and promenades created a unique, vibrant, and people-pleasing setting. By so doing, it
encouraged further private investment within the South Auditorium district and fostered expansion of urban
renewal as a policy tool northward and westward. The success of the sequence also established a local
expectation in urban plaza design, an expectation carried forward in places such as Pioneer Courthouse
Square, Director Park , and Jamison Square. It further established the notion of a "sequence" of parks, carried
forward today in the similarly orchestrated series of parks in the Pearl District.
Link to full file: Halprin Open Space Sequence
Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria