This project deserves an award because it is unique as both a prototype and a specific response to its site, needs, budget and function as housing for mentally disabled residents.
The primary objective of the building was to create a sense of community for young adults with mental disabilities, who would be living away from their parents for the first time in their lives. Design goals included creating a building that was welcoming, regional in flavor, colorful, non-aggressive, providing residents positive experiences both inside and outside their apartments to discourage resident isolation.
Set in the suburban area of southwest Portland, the building exterior suggests a colorful, articulated, modern barn. The major roof form is sloped to the south to allow for future installation of solar arrays
The plan is a stepped wedge, allowing each unit to have a southern exposure and providing a long wall to maximize sound blockage from the street. The stepping is expressed in the interiors, creating interesting corridors and trapezoidal shaped common spaces housing social service offices, laundry room, and tenant storage.
Three sets of color combinations of living room and bath accent walls and counter tops create a sense of uniqueness for the apartments, despite three typical unit plans. Plans are configured to maximize furnishing options. Different sized windows located perpendicular to adjacent interior walls maximize reflected light into the units, frame interesting views to the surrounding landscape, provide cross ventilation, and create an artistic interior composition in combination with wall hangings and furniture.
The common room is intended to feel like a living room and contains community kitchen, fireplace, and television. It opens to an outdoor patio surrounded by a 6’ sound wall. The parking lot for 15 cars, primarily for guests, can also be used for half court basketball.