Bud Clark Commons

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Anything but common.

Holst approached the design of Bud Clark Commons with the attitude that addressing basic needs is not exclusive of design that dignifies the human condition. The mission of Bud Clark Commons is to provide permanent, affordable housing coupled with comprehensive services in an inspired environment to establish stability and wellbeing.

Bud Clark Commons achieves a perceivable balance between the rigorous programmatic requirements of a coalition led by the City of Portland, a progressive design approach, and sustainable building practices. Designing for individuals experiencing homelessness required a deft understanding of how to create warm and dignified solutions that also stood up to heavy use.

Daily Affirmations

Staff and client sourced proverbs and quotes offer a powerful welcome and inspire a connection to the human condition

Bud Clark Commons

Restorative garden

Access to the outdoors initiates a positive, intrinsic response to the healing qualities of nature.

Accessibility, natural light, plentiful clean air, and durable materials were essential to the success of the building from both a sustainable and a functional perspective. The project is the first LEED Platinum certified shelter, featuring a customized residential gray water system that constantly collects the building’s discharged water, minimizing dependence on city water. The city’s largest solar hot water array adorns the roof, supplying nearly all the hot water for the building year-round, mitigating operating costs.

Homelessness is not sustainable for the individual or the city. The costs and impacts are significant and difficult to quantify. Holst maintained the utmost commitment to achieving sustainability in a second way: social sustainability, with great attention to immeasurable qualities of the human condition, safety, independence and health.

Located at the gateway to downtown Portland, near historic Union Station and bordering the Pearl District, and as a centerpiece of Portland’s Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness, Bud Clark Commons represents a new approach to providing dignified housing and new opportunities to those experiencing homelessness. It sets a precedent for upholding the city’s pledge to support its most vulnerable citizens.

A place to call home

The ground level central access point where job and wellness services are provided mimics the sequence of spaces in a family home

Bud Clark Commons
Bud Clark Commons

It was a very intense process with a large stakeholder group. We needed the building to withstand a high level of use but still provide dignity and humanity.

Dave Otte, Principal / Owner


Home Forward


Portland, OR




107,000 sq. ft.


LEED Platinum


2014 AIA COTE Top Ten Green Projects

2013 ASLA National Honor Award – Residential Category

2013 Social Impact Design Awards – Honor Award

2013 Residential Architect Magazine Project of the Year

2013 ACEC Oregon Engineering Excellence Awards, Project of the Year

2012 National AIA / HUD Secretary Award, Creating Community Connection Award

2012 AIA Northwest and Pacific Region Merit Award

2012 Brick Industry Association Best in Class – Multi-family Housing

2012 Oregon ASLA Grand Prize Award of Excellence for Landscape

2011 Oregon IIDA Honor Award, Public and Civic Institutions

2011 Oregon IIDA Jurors’ Choice Award

2011 AIA Portland Honor Award

2011 AIA Portland People’s Choice Award

2011 Director’s Choice Award, Oregon Housing & Community Development