The Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) is a private art college located in downtown Portland. In 2005, Allied Works worked with PNCA to create a master plan that addressed a range of interconnected issues: current and future programming, projected growth in enrollment, property acquisition strategies and facilities utilization. The plan also identified strategies that give expression to PNCA’s educational vision and enhance the college’s presence both locally and internationally. The keystone of this effort is the adaptation of an historic former post office and federal building, located at 511 Broadway, into the college's new main campus building, the Schnitzer Center for Art and Design.
The renovated six-story building, opening in February 2015, houses PNCA's core curriculum and administrative functions. The lower floors originally contained the public functions of the post office, including a large naturally lit hall devoted to sorting and processing mail. These ground floor spaces retain their public function, and the natural light that once flooded the hall is restored, illuminating second floor exhibition and work areas. A mezzanine level, inserted between the first and second floors, defines four distinct public spaces below. These spaces are formed by radius openings in the new mezzanine, its edge suspended by steel cables from the structure above. At the center, an atrium serves as the heart of the building, creating a “town square” where students and faculty can gather for critiques or mingle between classes and en-route to studios. The atrium also connects the public functions of the building to an historic corridor between Broadway and a planned urban park. The remaining public spaces include a double-height library, object library and innovation studio, and the “mediatheque,” a black box presentation space for lectures and exhibitions, located in the center of the building.