A.E. Doyle: Creator of Downtown Portland's Skyline

  The Benson Hotel

The Terminal Sales Building

Even architectural know-nothings have probably noticed downtown's Central Library, or the Benson Hotel or perhaps PGE Park, Riverdale School, and many buildings at Reed College.  In a career that spanned just a few decades into the late 1920,s, Albert Doyle transformed what we know as today's downtown, designing 21 buildings- incredibly, 20 of which still exist. As a student of architecture, Doyle took to Europe, traveling Italy, sketching the Parthenon, bringing back to Portland a repertoire steeped in classic Renaissance architecture. Not surprisingly, he was asked to design several banks as this style of design suggested permanence, including the Bank of California building, whose doors are modeled after the Baptistry (Duomo), in Florence, albeit with the story of pioneer Oregon, as opposed to the gates of hell.

The Meier and Frank department store was another of his commissions, and the first of several he covered in glazed terra cotta. He branched into Art Deco with the Terminal Sales Building, one of the few examples of this type of architecture in Portland. In a later period, he used concrete exteriors, designing the Broadway Garage (currently housing Saucebox).

When he died at just 50 years old, he left one of his hires, Pietro Belluschi, in his office. Pietro eventually bought the firm out.

Curious for more? Read Philip Nile's, "Portland's Architect."