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.