Archive for the Building Category

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.

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.

An introduction

Posted in Building, Construction, Design, Green on October 7, 2010 by Cyrk Building

Rendering of Cyrk Building's north side

Groundbreaking for our new building at SE 20th and Clinton is finally starting.  Cyrk Building will be a live-work with residential space on the second floor and office and retail space on the first floor.  A basement will provide underground parking and room for the leading edge mechanical systems that will operate the building.  Additional tenant retail space will face Clinton Street.  Cyrk will be 14,500 square feet and at just two stories, the height of the roof will be about 26 ½ feet.   

Targeted to achieve LEED Platinum certification, sustainable features include an extremely well-insulated building envelope, vegetative roofs and a 26 kWp photovoltaic array. In fact, the building will be so energy efficient that it is expected to produce enough electricity to provide over 90% of the building’s total power needs.

Additionally, heating and cooling with a water source heat pump will provide significant energy savings over conventional HVAC systems. The system taps into an abundant aquifer that runs throughout most of inner Southeast Portland and is conveniently located only 23 feet below the site. This underground water body serves as a heat source in the winter and a heat sink in the summer, creating significant energy and cost savings over the life of the building.  As rainwater is channeled to the aquifer, it will be used for toilets, laundry and irrigation.