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Oct-11-2010 21:19printcomments

John Yeon's Visitors Information Center Listed in National Register of Historic Places

John Yoen Information Center

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Located in Governor Tom McCall Park, John Yeon’s Visitor Information Center is Portland’s latest entry in the National Register of Historic Places.

Constructed in 1948, the Visitors Information Center is a singularly unique example of the work of recognized master architect John Yeon. One of Oregon’s most famous architects, Yeon is known as a pioneer of the Northwest Regional style of architecture. His Information Center is his only non-residential building still in existence, and was included as one of only 43 buildings in the Museum of Modern Art’s prestigious 1953 “Built in U.S.A.: Post-War Architecture” exhibit along with works by other know architects, Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius, Philip Johnson, and Richard Neutra.

Yeon’s deep love for the landscapes of the Pacific Northwest inspired his multi-disciplinary style of design, where the outside views were carefully framed in an orchestrated series of experiences. The exterior of the low, rectangular building is composed of three-foot wide vertically oreinted plywood panels punctuated by similarly-sized irregularly-placed picture windows.

The design features four enclosed “pavilions” that pinwheel around the visually open glassed-in central area with each pavilion and a pergola and garden wall extending beyond the glass enclosure. Views from the building are carefully arranged to frame vistas of Mount Hood to the North or the enclosed garden originally planted with native species. The building exhibits aspects of both International Style and Northwest Regional Style architecture, and is widely considered to be one of John Yeon’s finest works.

Oregon’s State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation recommended the building’s nomination in June 2010. Over 500 historic Portland properties are now listed in the National Register, which is maintained by the National Park Service under the authority of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

More information about the National Register and recent Oregon listings is online at (click on “State Historic Preservation Office” at left of page and then National Register Program).

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