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Gensler Portland Partners with Rose Haven to Design its New Community Day Shelter

Gensler, Portland, Rose Haven, Swinerton, Mazzetti, Code Unlimited, Bookin Group

Oregon has the second highest rate of homelessness in the country with 35 people out of every 10,000 in the state lacking shelter and about 62% percent of the state’s homeless living outside, in tents, or cars. As more people are unable to get into shelters, they rely on organizations like Rose Haven, Portland’s only day shelter and community center serving women, children and gender non-conforming folks experiencing varying disruptive life challenges to meet basic needs.  

Gensler Portland has partnered with Rose Haven in support of this cause to design its new 10,000 sq. ft. space – a facility three times the size of their existing footprint to help them better serve the homeless in the community. The new Nob Hill location (a few blocks from Rose Haven’s present location) is the old World Cup Coffee shop and warehouse at NW 18th Avenue and Glisan Street. This renovated building will not only provide necessary services to Rose Haven’s guests, it will offer a compassionate and safe environment where they can heal with respect and dignity. 

“Our work with Rose Haven is about community and making a meaningful impact in Portland,” said Sun Joo Kim, Design Manager and Associate with Gensler Portland. “It has been a privilege to design with such an amazing, mission driven client team who provide essential services which are particularly critical during this pandemic. Katie and her team do so much in the limited space they currently have, and we are thrilled to help them create a space that allows them to do even more. The opportunity to learn about trauma informed design, inclusive design, and psychological safety in real time has been an invaluable experience, as well as partnering with Swinerton, Mazzetti, Code Unlimited, and Bookin Group who generously donated their time. We’re excited to see the new home come to life and to continue the partnerships made by coming together for the Rose Haven community.”  

Gensler’s approach to community-driven projects is to engage all users and community members, ensuring the voices of both owners and users are reflected in the final design. For the Rose Haven project, the design team facilitated visioning sessions for Rose Haven’s team comprised of directors, volunteers, and advocates to provide the framework they could leverage to conduct a visioning session with the women and children they serve. This focused on decision-making, providing an inclusive experience to ensure all voices were heard, engaging with diverse viewpoints, and community outreach. 

Rose Haven’s new space will include a welcoming intake and reception area, guest services area, activity rooms, prep-kitchen and pantry, community dining room, wellness area with showers, laundry and medic room, and a boutique-inspired area where guests can select donated clothing items. Offices and workspaces for Rose Haven’s team of directors, advocates, and volunteers will also be incorporated into the design.

The design will feature natural, exposed, wood beams contrasting with light walls and furniture to give the space a warm, open feel where Rose Haven’s guests can socialize and feel a sense of community or find a quiet place of respite. Splashes of pastel hues throughout will make this comfortable and calming environment even more inviting. 

“We are excited to see our new facility design come to life,” said Katie O’Brien, Executive Director for Rose Haven. “Gensler’s vision for our space truly exceeds our expectations. It will be such a warm and welcoming sanctuary for the over 3,500 guests we serve annually. This is also a time when we look to our community to support our fundraising efforts that enable us to continue to serve our guests. We were thrilled to recently be gifted an anonymous donation of a half-million dollars to put toward the campaign goal of three million dollars.”   

Construction of Rose Haven’s new space will begin in the Fall of 2021 with an anticipated move-in date of January 2022.