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Designed as a kit of parts, Low Income Single Adult Housing, or LISAH, is a dignified co-housing 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.

The Kenton neighborhood of Portland will house the first LISAH buildout on a city-owned, industrial site close to the MAX light rail line, bus lines, and commercial shopping areas. Phase 1 consists of four buildings containing 42 units oriented around central outdoor space. The largest building contains thirty-five 220 square foot studio apartment units. 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.

Each building is composed of modular units constructed offsite. Gabled roof trusses, shingled roofs, and durable cladding will make the modular construction imperceptible from the exterior.

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, LISAH will help Kenton alleviate other issues related to homelessness in the area.


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 twelve people. Efficient construction techniques, prefabricated elements, a maximized efficiency of space, and an aesthetic typology can easily adapt LISAH to a variety of locales across Oregon—from city neighborhoods to the Coast to the Cascades.


Transition Projects


Portland, Oregon




24,000 sq. ft.