Four walls and a roof may be the most basic building blocks of architecture, but they are also components of hope, security, and well-being of our neighbors. Our team has a long history of supporting residential projects, including affordable housing and community-supporting spaces, and in our Four Walls and a Roof Series, we will be celebrating some of our favorites.
One of the most unique projects we had the opportunity to contribute to was Bud Clark Commons, designed by Holst Architecture and named after the Portland Mayor who championed the city’s homeless plan in the 1980s. Bud Clark is an award-winning cornerstone to the City of Portland’s homelessness program that provides 130 studio apartments with nine dedicated to accessibility accommodations, nearby mass transit, and on-site bicycle storage. The use of natural light, wood elements, and an open landscaped courtyard were also intentionally integrated to present a welcoming, humane, and warm space for the occupants. The building also houses a 90-bed transitional shelter and a day center with learning resources, health services, meal services, and employment support.
Our team supported fire life safety compliance and unique design features such as the various entry points. The designers’ goals of providing an environment for stability in this Harm Reduction housing model showed measurable results in the first year of operation with over 7,000 homeless served, including 200 veterans. In addition, 350 people were connected with permanent housing and overall healthcare costs were reduced for residents by 55 percent.
Bud Clark was a welcomed opportunity for our firm to support the industry on a project for the common good. With homelessness becoming even more of a community challenge, we hope to see more projects like this on the horizon.