One of the most distinctive elements of Butler Square is its frame of massive Douglas Fir columns and beams. In 1979, when James Binger took over ownership of the second half of Butler Square, he had his architect Elness carve a vaulting atrium from the core of the building. This allowed day light to shine through the interior. The architect heightened the atrium's drama by sandblasting the fir columns and beams, restoring their original beauty, and providing rich interior accents.
Working from top to bottom, a one-bay hole was cut through the atrium to lower all demolished timber to the ground floor. The atrium space was created by disassembling existing timber columns and beams.
Ninth floor columns, at the atrium perimeter, were replaced with longer columns. These extended through the roof and formed the skylight structure. Once the skylight was installed, the original roof below it was removed.
As construction moved downward, workers installed atrium glazing, planters, and handrails, using the atrium floor at that level for a working platform.