Hazel Ying Lee Apartments

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The Hazel Ying Lee Apartments is a 206-unit affordable housing project for families in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood of SE Portland. Formerly the location of a strip club, the City of Portland purchased the blighted site in 2017 and identified it as a target for funding from the voter-backed Portland Housing Bond initiative in 2016. Developed, owned, and operated by Home Forward, the building will offer a wide range of unit sizes and types paired with a robust ground floor program of community rooms, courtyards, playgrounds, services, and spaces for families in need. This transit-oriented development is close to the central city and is adjacent to schools, grocery stores, and multiple bus lines.

The 4-story building is framed primarily with a conventional wood structure to control costs, however the ground floor is taller to allow for loft units facing the courtyards and landscaping areas, as well as generous volumes of space for community rooms that occupy and activate the public zones facing Powell. Arranged in an X-shaped plan, the building massing allows for maximized density while providing visual interest and a dynamic façade that adds to the eclectic and varied characters of the neighborhood.


The concept of neighborhood currents and flow shapes the site response.

The building and site concepts work in concert together to harness the concepts of currents and flow. Seen as an object in the path of many urban forces, the building shifts, carves, and warps to create courtyards, pathways, play areas, and buffered spaces from adjacent neighbors. The site elements compliment the building by flowing around corners, weaving through interior spaces, and settling into eddies of respite in the courtyards. The site threads together two dead-end and misaligned streets to provide a public right-of-way multiuse path that will allow neighborhood connectivity for pedestrians and bikes.


Currents and erosion inform the materiality and detailing of the building both inside and out.

The materiality reinforces the concept of flow. Utilizing a wide range of locally sourced brick masonry, the base of the building is dynamically shaped and layered with varied cuts and sweeps that create a play of solids and voids that respond to the building functions. Inside the building, this concept of flow is carried through with the dynamic shaping of building circulation spaces. A clear and evident building concept is felt with open access from the lobby to all four sides of the building. This benefit of the X-shaped plan provides both efficiency and functionality for minimized travel distances, maximized view corridors, and simplified service zones and staff areas.


Home Forward


Portland, OR


Expected Summer 2024


138,000 sq. ft.
206 units


2022 Portland Design Commission, Design Excellence Award

2021 Portland Design Commission Project of the Year