How the Cyrk got its name

Posted in Building, Fun on January 29, 2013 by Cyrk Building

When I was a kid, my father, Leon Serkin, was sometimes called “Serk” by his friends. In the late ’60’s I was shopping in Harvard Square for wall hangings for my college room and came across some, then contemporaneously produced, censored Polish art posters. I was elated to find the lion and tiger “Cyrk” posters, that reminded me of my father’s nickname, with stunning graphic and political appeal. I blew my whole meager furnishing budget on them.

After their time in my dorm room, they got handed down to my sister. When she graduated the posters went the way of all battered college furnishings. Decades later, when our new live-work building in Portland was still just a conceptual drawing, I seized on the idea of somehow incorporating my name into the name of the building without it being completely eponymous.

My husband, Will Emery, kindly humored me in my egotistical whim. “Cyrk” had familial significance, along with the allure of the subversive poster art form, punctuated by a suggestion of the three-ring circus aspect of our lives.


At that point I went on a quest for the posters themselves. The Contemporary Posters staff had just been on a scouting trip to Europe and had found not only the lion and tiger from my college days but the third poster in the series as well – a clown with the letter “Y” in his pocket. They even had a couple prints that had the censor’s approval noted on the front, but I opted for the pristine versions that are now hanging in the hall at the Cyrk Building.

I did not know about MoMA’s Polish poster collection until I undertook my 2010 quest, and that added a satisfying extra dimension for me as an art collector.

The people at were wonderfully helpful when I spoke with them on the phone three years ago. As I recall it took a while for them to respond to my phone and email inquiries because they were traveling on buying missions, but having their expertise was well worth the wait.

‘Best Of’ IIDA Idea 201

Posted in Building, Design on December 3, 2012 by Cyrk Building

The International Interior Design Association, Oregon Chapter, recently announced the winners of the 2012 Design Awards. CYRK Building was awarded the Best of Competition in the residential category.

Digging up history

Posted in Uncategorized on September 29, 2011 by Cyrk Building

The water department is discovering all sorts of fun history as they work on Clinton Street outside Cyrk.   They dug through their old water vault, under the 6” natural gas line, and discovered an old trolley rail line.

Cyrk article in DJC

Posted in Building, Green on August 25, 2011 by Cyrk Building

The Cyrk building at Southeast Clinton and 20th streets in Portland is a model of sustainable features: The roof will sport solar panels for electricity and water heating, and the indoor temperature will be controlled with an underground water-source heat pump. Altogether, the project is on course to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design platinum certification.

The project team is dedicated to creating as green a building as possible – and overcoming the challenges inherent in such an effort.  Click here to read the rest of the article.

Work at Cyrk

Posted in Uncategorized on June 15, 2011 by Cyrk Building

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Posted in Green on April 4, 2011 by Cyrk Building

Today we hauled six months worth of plastic film packaging to EFI Recycling in North Portland (in Blue the biodiesel truck).  To date, over 98% of the construction waste from Cyrk has been recycled.

From the beginning

Posted in Construction on March 7, 2011 by Cyrk Building

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Posted in Uncategorized on March 7, 2011 by Cyrk Building

We are strong supporters of labor unions and, indeed, a number of union shops are working on the Cyrk Building.  It is an honor to be able to create the opportunity for good jobs in this economy.  We are chagrined that the pace of our quiet neighborhood has been disrupted by the Carpenters Union, but the exercise of lawful free speech is a right that we prize.

Masons are in the House

Posted in Uncategorized on January 7, 2011 by Cyrk Building

The masons are installing concrete block.  They should be done with the masonry by the end of next week and will begin erecting steel.  Steel erection will be complete by the end of January and the second floor should be poured in the first week of February.  There will be a crane on the site, but it shouldn’t impact traffic.  Occasional deliveries of large steel columns and beams may temporarily affect the flow of traffic on Clinton.

Blue Skies Smiling At Me

Posted in Construction on December 16, 2010 by Cyrk Building

We finally have a break in the rain, so concrete is being poured today.