We make buildings that work hard. Like we do. Buildings that are honest and wise, that give out more than they consume. We make buildings that are thoughtfully and artfully crafted. Buildings that are quiet, majestic solutions to real human problems, not the source of new ones.

At GBD, we focus all of our talent and experience and ingenuity and sweat on solving problems and creating better places for humans to be… more human. It requires a deep and thorough understanding of the people who will live, work and play there. Whether that space is a residence, corporate headquarters, university, hospital or commercial building.

Creating beautiful spaces for people means connecting them to light and air and materials made of wood, earth and stone. It assumes a respect for the beauty of the natural environment. The perfect building, in GBD terms, is one that produces more energy than it consumes, and consumes more waste than it produces. GBD was an early adopter of green building rating systems such as LEED, and continues to be one of the nation’s leaders in
sustainable planning, design and development.

GBD was established in 1969 in Portland, Oregon, as a practice that would excel in three areas: GBD would do a better job of understanding the people they were working with and what their business objectives were, so they would meet and occasionally exceed those objectives; GBD would work harder to consider how each space or building would be used and enjoyed, so they would actually be used and enjoyed; and GBD would be aware, from the very beginning, that a legacy was inevitable. That every decision and interaction would have an impact in some way: the kinds of buildings they built, how they built them, and the way they interacted with each other, their clients and the community. Many of those early GBD clients continue to be some of the firm’s most active clients today, as they themselves have prospered and expanded.

The GBD culture is warm, open, collegial, highly professional and yet uncharacteristically down to earth. There is a strong work ethic. There is an obvious passion and love for what we do, a deep belief in how we’re doing it, and a respect for who we’re doing it with. The “it” is building beautiful, responsible spaces that move and elevate people. Because, in the final analysis, these are not “GBD buildings.” These are human buildings.



GBD Architects is an interdisciplinary architecture, interior design and space planning firm dedicated to a sustainable built environment. Our staff of more than 80 encourages a highly collaborative office culture that is welcoming, warm and collegial. We love what we do, and are driven by a passion for creating beautiful, responsible spaces that respond to real human needs.



What We’re Doing: Just as much as we dedicate ourselves to designing sustainable buildings, we also commit ourselves to upholding healthy practices within our office. This includes how we get to work, how we do our work, and our personal practices while we’re here.

How We Get to Work: GBD is centrally located in the heart of Portland’s Pearl District with convenient access to public transportation. Light rail, streetcar and bus lines are all accessible within steps of our office. We encourage alternative methods of commuting by providing transit passes to our employees. Recently, we adopted an Active Transportation Incentive program, which supports employees who walk or bike a majority of the time with a significant monthly stipend. Our building contains shower facilities, locker rooms and ample, secure storage for bicyclists.

How We Do Our Work: GBD’s sustainable office practices are overseen by a committee of dedicated, knowledgeable, and passionate individuals. The Green Team meets monthly on items as detailed as scrutinizing the ingredients in our cleaning products and as far reaching as our defining firm’s vision for the future. They mobilize us with recycling goals and inspire us with educational sessions. During orientation, each new employee receives a guide from the Green Team to inform them of the healthy practices we, as an office, put to action.

Sustainable Goals: Within our office practices, we strive to achieve the following three main goals.

Minimize Waste: The first step in building a better future for our planet is to reduce consumption. GBD embraces digital methods of sharing information. Each workstation is equipped with software that facilitates easy, electronic review of documents, and our accounting team aims to be entirely paperless in 2016. We make it easy for everyone to reduce food and container waste—the office offers a durable dishware program option for take-out food and we place dedicated recycling bins at every desk, and locate compost in the kitchen. Our catering policy prioritizes a list of sustainable caterers and specifies that food be served family style with reusable tableware.

Educate Our Staff: We believe that creating real change starts with knowledge. Every quarter, the office hosts GBD-U, an internal educational session that touches on a variety of topics, including climate change and integrated design. GBD employs a full-time Sustainability Manager to research industry best-practices, attend conferences, and serve as an in-house information resource for our staff. We encourage employees to become LEED Accredited Professionals by providing study materials and reimbursement for exams.

Give back to the Community: A core goal of our mission is to remain connected to the community in which we work by volunteering our time, energy, and knowledge. GBD has been an active contributor to the Kelly School pantry, where employees elect deductions from their paycheck to provide food and supplies for families in need. Since starting the program a decade ago, we have donated more than $50,000—several tons of food—to  Portland families. GBD also actively participates in a yearly toy collection drive, and has provided more than 3,000 toys to children over the holidays since 2006. We volunteer our personal time to committees and boards that support education and community development such as Rotary, The Children’s Museum, Benson High School, and the ACE Mentor Program.  Whether clearing ivy in Forest Park or sorting food at the Oregon Food Bank, giving back is a long-held GBD tradition.

We take these actions for one simple reason: we are committed to creating a healthy and sustainable environment through our work and our operations. A sustainable workplace is just one part of the bigger picture—but it is a part for which we as an organization are solely responsible, and one we passionately commit to uphold.

GBD Architects Incorporated 1120 NW Couch St., Suite 300 Portland, OR 97209 Tel. (503) 224-9656 gbd@gbdarchitects.com