Argyle Gardens

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Designed as a kit of parts, Argyle Gardens is the first buildout of LISAH (Low Income Single Adult Housing), a dignified co-living model designed to accommodate an optimum number of people to share community space and support. The modular system can be configured as formerly homeless, workforce, or student housing, or to house intergenerational families together.

Argyle Gardens opened to residents in April 2020. Located in the Kenton neighborhood of Portland, the four buildings sit on a transitional site between a neighborhood and an industrial zone close to the MAX light rail line, bus lines, a park, and commercial shopping areas. The largest building contains 35 studio units, each 220 square feet. A large community room, laundry facilities, and support service offices, serve as a central hub and communal gathering space for all residents. Each of three cohousing buildings feature two six-bedroom units with two shared bathrooms and a large kitchen.

Each building takes a simple rectilinear form with a slice removed to reveal color and translucent polycarbonate panels that bring vibrancy to the composition.

Argyle Gardens

Each building is composed of modular units constructed offsite. The size of the modules are maximized for efficiency and to minimize transportation costs.

The site’s steep topography and existing vegetation provide privacy but challenged the design team to locate the buildings in a way that balances ADA access requirements, environmental considerations, and the maintenance of the large staging area required for modular construction of Phases 1 and 2. The resulting calibration meets those needs while minimizing direct solar heat gain on the polycarbonate walls, enabling the main entry stair towers to be unconditioned spaces.

The Transition Projects and Holst team involved the progressive, supportive Kenton neighborhood in the development of the project from the beginning. By offering deeply affordable units with supportive services and adjacent outdoor space, Argyle Gardens will help Kenton alleviate other issues related to homelessness in the area.

Argyle Gardens

The co-housing module systems works within the existing Portland Zoning code and can adapt to any area that allows duplexes or additional density. In Portland, six bedrooms and a shared kitchen constitute a single dwelling unit, so one cohousing module is considered a duplex that houses 12 people. Efficient construction techniques, prefabricated elements, a maximized efficiency of space, and an aesthetic typology can easily adapt the LISAH model to a variety of locales across Oregon—from city neighborhoods to the Coast to the Cascades.


Transition Projects


Portland, OR




24,000 sq. ft.
72 units


2023 AIA National Housing Award

2020 AIA Northwest & Pacific Region (NWPR) Citation Award

2020 AIA Oregon Merit Award

2020 Gray Magazine Design for Good Award Finalist

2020 Residential Architect Design Awards Affordable Housing Commendation