March 4, 2013, I took off from work and attended the tour attached to the Benson Hotel's 100th anniversary. The best part, being able to go into empty hotel rooms, look around a bit, then take some photos through the windows. I'm looking northeast here. Notice on the skyline the rounded top of Mount St. Helens, still covered with snow? See the black, open-work towers of the Steel Bridge sticking up above that red brick building?
Best of all, this view of the Big Pink. I know, I know. It doesn't look pink this time--it's more a taupe color, in my opinion. I like that you can see that the corner is not a 90 degree angle. (Read more about both in the next paragraph.) Fun fact: My two sons Lamont and Leland used to prep and cook at the Portland City Grill which takes up the entire 30th floor of the Big Pink. When Mama and I visited Portland for the first time in the summer of 2004, we stayed at the Benson Hotel and got to tour the Portland City Grill in the morning before it opened. I think it was July 4, but I cannot remember for sure. I love that places and sights I remember from that first visit are in my life, almost daily in some instances--my work commute involves the Big Pink, morning and afternoon. Sweet.
Here's more about the Big Pink's design, including the glass and the granite. Perhaps the most unusual features of the U.S. Bancorp Tower are its shape and color. Pietro Belluschi, consultant on the building, was most concerned about the play of light and shadows on its surface; meanwhile, the designers, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), had to work with a uniquely shaped lot due to the street grid. Because of the street grid, the tower features no right angles in its parallelogram footprint. This, in turn, makes it look either extremely slender or wide depending upon one's viewing angle. Belluschi carefully selected the glass and granite for the exterior facing. The pink granite covering the building was quarried in Spain. The Pittsburgh Plate Glass used for the windows is also pink, an effect caused by its being "glazed in a semitransparent coating of copper and silver that looks pink from the outside." The windows can absorb or reflect light depending upon how much light is upon them, while the surrounding granite may appear darker or lighter than the window panes, depending upon the time of day. The unusual color earned the building the nickname "Big Pink."