MorningStar at Laurelhurst understands that aging in the comfort of familiar surroundings or near loved ones can make a world of difference. Scheduled to open in 2022, the senior community’s key location at the edge of Portland’s largely residential Laurelhurst neighborhood means nearby families can live just a few blocks away from their elderly relatives. Also, older residents of the area will not need to move far from home for assisted living or memory-care options.
Bordering both busy storefronts and quiet homes, the 146,000 sq. ft. building’s site challenged our team to cohesively combine elements of upbeat, urban living and intimate, residential tranquility. The flexible amenity spaces are concentrated on the ground floor, at the front of the building along Sandy Blvd., a commercial street. Large retail-style windows encourage residents in the café bistro, art studio, or fitness area to connect with the active energy of people passing by.
The main entrance is in the rear, within the residential neighborhood, to enhance safety. This side of the building is scaled down using step backs, from five-stories to one story. Changing the massing and using multiple exterior materials helps the 400-foot-long structure feel more approachable and less overwhelming, especially when viewed alongside the neighboring houses. Brick sections of the exterior compliment the historic Anna Mann Home next door, while dark paneling in other areas creates a modern edge.
For seniors moving from homes with backyards, we wanted to maximize access to the outdoors. Lush plantings wrap around the building at ground level, offering a gentle transition as the grade at street level changes from that of the building. Meandering pathways and raised beds in the memory care terrace provide a peaceful outdoor activity space. The roof-top terrace features an outdoor fireplace for resident gatherings, with sweeping views of Southeast Portland, all the way to Downtown and the West Hills. Even the lid of the garage ramp is a green space.
As one of our client’s first urban campuses in Oregon, MorningStar at Laurelhurst is designed to embrace dynamic city life without losing the comforts of home. Our goal was to create a vibrant, modern senior community that will be a catalyst for positive future development on Sandy Blvd. The building stays true to Laurelhurst’s historic, residential qualities—enhancing and refreshing the neighborhood with thoughtful modern touches and gardens.