New high-rise takes inspiration from immigrant textile arts and the neighborhood to create a culturally meaningful contextual design
PORTLAND, OR (March 11, 2019) — Vibrant! is an affordable housing, high-rise development that draws inspiration from the surrounding neighborhood and the community it serves to create a culturally meaningful, contextually rich solution. The building is located in the Pearl District and designed by a Portland-based team: 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 neighborhood, originally home to rail yards, industrial 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 has transformed into a pocket of high-end housing with boutique stores and restaurants. Rather than continuing market-rate development, Vibrant! is taking a step towards rebalancing the community by providing a much needed supply of affordable housing. Innovative Housing Inc. developed the project with major funding from the Portland Housing Bureau, Oregon Housing & Community Services and other sources. A grand opening celebration will be held at Vibrant! on March 14 from 5pm to 6pm. The event is free and open to the public.
Vibrant! provides 93 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, including 40 units set aside for families transitioning out of homelessness. The project went through a complex and vigorous Design Review process and received City Council approval in 2017. The design re-thinks the aesthetic assumptions of typical new buildings in the Pearl District. Salazar Architect designed the metal-clad exterior of Vibrant! with the site’s underlying history in mind; eschewing the brown brick tradition of the district by tapping into the location’s deeper socio-cultural legacy. Traditional fabrics are a common cultural artifact that immigrant communities bring with them to their new home. The design of Vibrant! is loosely based on this idea, and in its’ own way seeks to reclaim a diverse neighborhood. Siding panels are “stitched” together and use bright colors inspired by African American, Chinese and Japanese textile arts. The design also takes inspiration from the neighborhood’s industrial warehouses—and references the horizontal lines of the elevated 405 freeway that surrounds the site—by omitting a cornice and using simple forms, repetitive windows, and two large rotated bays that introduce a pedestrian scale.
Salazar Architect designed the interior common areas using a minimalist approach with simple forms and materials, including natural concrete floors and ceilings, and selected architectural moves that instill a sense of excitement in the building. The lobby is a dramatic entry point with integrally stained flooring in a blue hue that contrasts with the re-claimed oak wood walls, which wrap around interconnecting management and social services offices, casual seating, mail boxes, and a bike room. 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. The corridors, bike room, and laundry spaces are low key, providing compact, functional and cost-efficient space.
This Earth Advantage project—a Portland-based organization working to accelerate the adoption of sustainable buildings across the Northwest—features a number of sustainable elements: a rooftop PV solar array, native plants, and a roof terrace with spectacular views of Fields Park and the Willamette River.
The project team includes: Salazar Architect (collaborating architect), LRS Architects (prime architect), KPFF (structural engineer), Shapiro Didway (landscape architecture), A3 Acoustics and 3J Consulting (civil engineer). Bremik Construction is the general contractor with design-build MEP by Hunter-Davisson, Andersen Mechanical, HK Electrical Engineers, Affordable Electric, and Crown Fire Systems.About Salazar Architect
Salazar Architect Inc. creates high-impact public interest architecture through thoughtful client, resident and community involvement, innovative design and creative interiors. Environmental stewardship, economic stability and social empowerment are integrated concepts and by being responsive to these needs we design unique, meaningful places that are rich in architectural character and affordable to build. The firm began as a pro-bono urban design practice serving low income communities-of-color in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2007 Salazar Architect was founded with a focus on affordable housing and community based advocacy work. Since moving to Portland in 2014, the firm has continued to design affordable developments while expanding into market rate housing and other project types that bring community benefits. Salazar Architect Inc. is a certified Oregon MBE / ESB / DBE firm, licensed in Oregon, California and Washington. salazarch.com