View from Street
Main Entry
View into Courtyard from Street
Courtyard Wall Detail
Art Panels at Street
Courtyard at Night
Main Lobby

Outside In

Portland, OR

This highly successful social service agency started 30 years ago to provide medical care to homeless kids. Over time they grew into a collection of borrowed buildings throughout Portland, Oregon and needed a permanent home. The new 31,000 SF building accommodates counseling, employment services, clinic, needle exchange, meals, and housing.

The design developed to attract and engage youth. Its 4-story mass was broken into smaller-scaled elements, making it visually interesting and approachable. Exposed structure, unusual angles and leaning walls give it a non-institutional energy. Urban materials and vibrant artwork add variety and texture. An L-shaped building and “street wall” define an open-air garden/courtyard.

The courtyard provides kids with a protected outdoor space of their own. Gates and panels can be opened, allowing the neighborhood in. A wall mural at the client’s former location had become a local landmark and inspired the sunscreen/mural by a local artist. This perforated metal screen expresses the organization’s non-judgmental outreach. Community artisans collaborated with kids to make moveable art panels that provide sidewalk scenery and activity.

A 2-story lobby centralizes services and is the building hub. Sustainable design incorporates sun control, natural ventilation, daylight, low-energy lighting and recycled materials.