3000 Powell Receives Portland Design Commission’s 2021 Design Excellence Award

3000 Powell Receives Portland Design Commission’s 2021 Design Excellence Award

Holst Architecture and 3000 Powell have been awarded Portland Design Commission’s 2021 Design Excellence Award. This award recognizes a project that best exemplifies the tenets of design: context, public realm, quality, and resilience. This is Holst’s 2nd year winning this award, having been awarded the same honor for Fora Health’s Headquarters in the 2019-2020 State of the City Design Report presentation.

Thoughtful Solutions to Complex Challenges

3000 Powell is a 206-unit affordable housing project located in Portland’s Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood. Formerly the location of a strip club, the site was purchased by the City of Portland and awarded Portland Housing Bond funds in 2018. The site is a sloping parcel with split zoning that fronts a bustling state highway and two dead-end streets. Holst was challenged to deliver a design solution that enhances the fractured context of Powell Boulevard with an improved public realm, while providing an architecture of quality and permanence on a limited budget. To meet these challenges, we collaborated early and often on strategies to meet the design guidelines while thinking creatively about how to shape the building and surrounding open spaces.

Projects like these are complicated. They require balancing a wide variety of constraints and complex programmatic needs. From overlapping regulatory requirements of multiple bureaus, utility companies, and jurisdictions, to addressing the needs of the neighborhood and broader community, architecture like this cannot be regulated through standards alone. This level of design requires discussion, collaboration, and compromise. Portland’s collaborative and discretionary design review process was essential to our success, and it simply made the project better.

Designing for Dignity, Delight, and Respite

The design of 3000 Powell harnesses the concepts of currents and flow—the building shifts, carves, and warps to create courtyards, pathways, and play areas. These design elements compliment the building by flowing into entrances, weaving through interior spaces, and settling into eddies of respite in the courtyards. Now under construction, 3000 Powell will soon provide 206 dignified and delightful affordable housing units, as well as community rooms, courtyards, playgrounds, services, and spaces focused on families.

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