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The Fair-Haired Dumbbell, Portland, Oregon

The following project was submitted to AWCI’s Excellence in Construction Quality Awards program in 2019 in the EIFS category.

The Fair-Haired Dumbbell in Portland, Ore., is a 56,000 square-foot speculative office building with ground-floor retail. AWCI Lifetime Member contractor Western Partitions Inc. installed the exterior insulation and finish system in 112 workdays (7,890 man-hours) in 2017. Their work involved 36,000 square feet of EIFS and vapor barrier over six stories.


With 406 windows, the job came with challenges. According to the nomination form submitted by WPI, “The canted angle of the walls made it a challenge to work as the exterior wall sloped outward 1 foot for every 20 feet of vertical rise. There was also no grooves on the elevations other than the floor line expansion joints. This meant that the finish had to be completed at each floor’s elevation without any breaking points.”


Other than the head-turning exterior, what makes this project so special? According to the nomination form, “Expert craftsmanship was necessary when dealing with the outward angled walls, lack of vertical control joints, and working around the large amount of windows on this project. In the end, the result was a finished EIF system that created the backdrop for one of the most artistically colorful and eye-catching building exteriors in the country. There are very few buildings that illustrate the character of the city they are located in quite like the quirky Fair-Haired Dumbbell. Proudly welcomed by the people of Portland, it is a one-of-a-kind building that truly helps ‘Keep Portland Weird.’”


Headquartered in Portland, WPI also has six other offices in the western United States. Visit to learn more about this AWCI member’s company and work.

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