mixed-use, affordable housing for vulnerable families

Vibrant! is an affordable housing high-rise in the Pearl District that draws inspiration from the surrounding neighborhood, and the community it serves, to create a culturally meaningful, contextually rich solution. Salazar Architect led the design of the building shell and interior common areas, in collaboration with LRS Architects who led the overall project management and design of apartments. The building provides 93 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, including 40 units set aside for families transitioning out of homelessness. It features a number of sustainable elements, including a rooftop PV solar array, native plants, and a roof terrace with spectacular views of Fields Park and the Willamette River.

Salazar Architect designed the building shell with the site's history in mind. The neighborhood – originally home to rail yards, industrial brick warehouses, and Portland’s first immigrant settlements – has, over the last century, seen communities-of-color pushed out while artists and others moved in. More recently, the area transformed into a pocket of high-end housing with boutique stores and restaurants. Eschewing the brown brick tradition of the area, the design taps into the location’s deeper socio-cultural legacy. Traditional fabrics are a common cultural artifact that immigrant communities bring with them. Loosely based on this idea, Vibrant!'s siding panels are “stitched” together and use bright colors inspired by African American, Chinese and Japanese textile arts. The design was also inspired by the neighborhood’s industrial warehouses that have simple forms and repetitive windows. And the two large, rotated bays pick up on horizontal lines of the elevated freeway that surrounds the site, bringing down the scale of the building to a pedestrian friendly level.

Vibrant!'s interior common areas designed by Salazar Architect use a minimalist approach with simple forms and materials, including natural concrete floors and ceilings, and selected architectural moves that instill a sense of excitement. The lobby is a dramatic entry point with integrally stained flooring in a blue hue that contrasts with a re-claimed oak wood wall, that wraps around and interconnects management and social services offices, casual seating areas, mail boxes and a bike lobby with a repair and wash station. The second-floor playroom, community room, kitchen, and computer room are also interlinked, creating a hub for family activities that flows out through glazed garage doors to the playground. And the corridors, bike room, and laundry spaces are low key, providing compact, functional and cost-efficient space.

Location: Portland, Oregon

Client: Innovative Housing Inc.

Architect: Salazar Architect Inc. led the design of the building shell and interior common areas. LRS Architects was prime.

Units: 93 apartments

Community Space: 5,268 sf

Retail Space: 500 sf

Sustainability: Energy Trust

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All designs and images © Salazar Architect Inc. 2019 unless otherwise noted