Photo of Gray's Landing
Photo of Gray's Landing
Photo of Gray's Landing
Photo of Gray's Landing
Photo of Gray's Landing

Gray's Landing

Affordable Homes in Portland’s South Waterfront

Gray’s Landing is designed, built, and operated as part of a holistic vision to reclaim Portland’s South Waterfront from industrial district to a diverse, mixed-use community. As the district’s first affordable housing development, the LEED Platinum project set high standards for efficiency and inclusivity. This six-story mid-rise is home to 42 veterans affected by homelessness, with another 167 units for people whose incomes are below 60% of median incomes. Gray’s Landing also houses the REACH Community Development headquarters, whose long-term approach to development harmonizes with our holistic approach to energy efficiency. The private nonprofit continuously educates residents on energy conservation, which maximizes the building’s long-term energy efficiency and in turn, reduces tenants’ utility costs. Gray’s Landing represents a new frontier in affordable and sustainable living—proof that the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Its design ensures efficiency over the entire lifespan of the building, but residents are the critical component. Together, they can make the South Waterfront a resilient, healthy community for future generations.

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Portland, Oregon
COMPLETED IN 2012
  • 209 units
  • 6 stories
  • 245,000 sq. ft.
DISCIPLINES

Architecture , Interiors

PROJECT TYPE

Affordable Housing

PROJECT CONTACT

Architecture: Michael Bonn

Interiors: Darla Esnard


Architecture Story

Inventive and Warm

Gray’s Landing is designed to contribute to the social, cultural, and ecological fabric of the South Waterfront district. The mixed-use development connects 209 affordable apartments with on-site supportive services to empower residents to lead stable, safe, and prosperous lives. As a LEED Platinum building, it creates a symbiotic connection between residents and the planet using long-term strategies for energy efficiency that, in turn, keep their utility bills to a minimum. Formerly zoned as an industrial area, human development was historically not kind to this site. Gray’s Landing reclaimed a vacant brownfield and, with a network of sustainable strategies, restores ecological balance. A continuous green roof (the largest in Portland at the time of construction) uses inventive systems throughout the 297,000 sq. ft. design to capture and pretreat 100% of the stormwater on-site. Nearly half of the building’s hot water needs are generated by the sun through solar thermal water heating panels on the roof. The building boasts a tight thermal enclosure; it is entirely wrapped in an air barrier and blown-insulation fills the wall cavities. As a result, Gray's Landing performs 35.85% better than ASHRAE and EnergyStar Multi-Family High Rise standards. Gray’s Landing is a comfortable, dignified place where families and individual people feel elevated and valued. Energy conservation and human comfort need not be at odds with each other; both can work together as an integrated whole. The airtight building conserves natural resources, which saves REACH and residents money and gives them a healthy place to work and live. The design established a residential look and pedestrian character for a neighborhood surrounded by tall towers. Warm colors and orange accents on the exterior stand out and feel welcoming. A tranquil water feature and plantings greet residents and passersby at the south façade. The building has a U-shaped plan so interior apartments can overlook the southern-facing courtyard. The space offers light to the apartments and in the rainy season, acts as a treatment system for rainwater which filters through planter beds and the soils of the green roof. Gray's Landing's site also encourages a low-carbon lifestyle, now and in the future: It offers walkable sidewalks and is within blocks of light rail, streetcar, bike paths, a river walkway, as well as shops, a farmers’ market, and a large public square. Drivers of the Portland Streetcar have access to a break room and showers at ground floor, and in exchange, residents have free passes to transit directly adjacent to the site. This reciprocal model of transit-connected living is another way Gray’s Landing is designed to create truly affordable living.

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Interior Story

Affordable and Dignified

Named after Portland developer and philanthropist John Gray, Gray’s Landing reflects the community-wide mission to providing affordable, safe, dignified homes for all people in Portland. We used highly efficient, locally sourced materials and daylighting strategies to create an inspiring home that’s healthy for people and the planet. At Gray’s Landing, we drew from our experience in market-rate urban living to select materials that are inspiringly modern, healthy, and durable—yet affordable. Exposed concrete, locally-sourced tile, and natural woods throughout the mixed-use development create an interior finish to rival market rate design. The administrative offices of REACH Community Development are light-filled workspaces accented with bright colors and warm, natural materials. It's a community-focused layout. A long hallway serves as a gallery and mural wall that displays the history and stories of Portland, REACH, and the people they’ve helped. Exposed mechanical plumbing and electrical, concrete floors, and large windows give the space a contemporary look and feel. Community space on the ground floor is where REACH teaches cooking classes, budgeting lessons, and other life-skills training. Residents also learn energy conservation techniques—their daily habits are a key element of efficient building performance, ensuring that building is as energy efficient as possible over time. EnergyStar appliances in all the units and throughout the building also help reduce energy use. The main design strategy for light and air in the apartments is simple yet effective: each unit has large, operable, energy-efficient windows in the living rooms, bedrooms, and kitchens. Framed by warm natural woods, windows and doors use a multi-point locking system for the best sound and air infiltration control possible. On sunny days, residents can stand in the sun and breathe in fresh air from their personal balconies. And when it rains, they’ll still be breathing 100% fresh air, thanks to a direct-duct air system. A landscaped second floor courtyard provides private green space for tenants and their guests to enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding neighborhood, river, and hills.

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