The design for 47 units of affordable housing and mixed uses on the southwest quadrant of Block 26 at the northern edge of Portland’s famed Pearl District will establish a healthy, vibrant vertical community that broadly serves the needs of families on the edge of homelessness, provides opportunity for stability and deeper integration into the local community and supports diversity. The nine-story, post-tensioned concrete building design was inspired by three concepts:
1. establish a foundation of nurturing for children and families
2. foster a diverse, intergenerational resident community where neighbors are encouraged to interact and support one another, and
3. provide daily proximity to and interaction with plants and natural environments indoors and out.
The ground floor and part of the second floor are given over to a Family Center featuring early childhood education and child care service areas and extensive resident services accommodation. Gardens are integrated throughout the building, serving a variety of functions, from educating children and locals to providing spaces to play and relax to offering opportunities for food and flower gardening. Communal spaces and functions are organized to encourage interaction between residents. The programming includes units devised for singles or couples with an interest in participating in education and resident services as well as two- and three-bedroom units for large families. The design delivers on the goal to provide better value in affordable housing while also increasing quality and endurance in the product type. YBA has worked closely with project partners Guardian Real Estate Services and Central City Concern to devise a cutting-edge program and building design that offers pathways to stability, upward mobility and resilience for at-risk local families.