Cosmopolitan on the Park

Portland, Oregon, United States

A custom facade solution for a high-end residential tower with unusual balconies

Cosmopolitan on the Park is a 28-story tower in Portland’s Pearl District. In addition to being the city’s tallest residential building, the tower cuts a striking figure with a column of distinctive inset decks.


  • The Challenge

    The building’s decks serve a significant aesthetic function: recessed into the high-performance reflective glazing that constitutes much of the building’s facade, they divide the structure vertically, almost creating the impression of multiple skinny towers sitting atop a single base. For residents, the decks, protected from wind and rain, serve more as outdoor rooms than as traditional balconies.

    When it came to designing, fabricating and installing the building’s facade, these signature decks presented unique challenges. A key imperative was to achieve continuity in the control layers (air, vapor, moisture) across the entire curtainwall system as it wound in and out of the balcony alcoves.

  • Our Approach

    Our building enclosure specialists worked closely with multiple teams: architects, engineers, contractors and the fabricators of the building’s high-end custom curtain wall. The goal was to ensure that the architect’s overarching design – with its complex geometry, unique joints and 3D interfaces – was being effectively translated into a building enclosure that would perform reliably over the long term.

    Our enclosure consultants reviewed hundreds of detailed curtain wall shop drawing pages, relying on extensive project experience to anticipate and head off construction challenges in the final installation. We helped the fabricator to refine complex sub-flashing interfaces, offering insights on 3D models and taking full-size mock-ups into the field to validate their performance.

    In addition to this intensive support with the detailing of the building enclosure, we delivered consulting on schematic design, design development, construction documents, bidding and construction administration. Ultimately, our team’s scope touched nearly every element of the exterior enclosure, including below-grade waterproofing, horizontal waterproofing for the plaza areas, the aluminum and glass storefront and curtainwall systems, thermal barriers, and roofing.

  • The Outcome

    Cosmopolitan on the Park was completed in 2016 and demand for units in the high-end building has been brisk. Because the building was erected during the wet months in the rainy northwest, the owner also tapped into our hygrothermal expertise once construction was complete: we placed hygrothermal sensors in areas of particular concern, and drew recordings over a set period to observe the drying capacity of assemblies. We’re currently at work with the same developer and architect team – Hoyt Street Properties and Bora Architects – delivering building enclosure consulting on their next ambitious residential project in downtown Portland.