Seeking a new approach to shelter the homeless of Portland, Ore., Holst Architecture and Walsh Construction Co. developed a solution used progressive, high-performance design to address rigorous programmatic requirements for dignified housing on a tight urban site. Every design decision at Bud Clark Commons (BCC) considered the users’ health and well-being, as well as that of the environment. The project provides 130 permanent apartments, a 90-bed temporary men's shelter, and a day center with support services such counseling, job training, and community space. 

The BCC replaced what had been a gas station and parking lot near the entrance to the Broadway Bridge, between an emerging historical neighborhood and an upscale mixed-use neighborhood. To help protect the nearby Willamette River, the team minimized excavation on the low-lying site and added street planters that treat stormwater runoff from the bridge.

Since it will own and operate the facility for many years, the client took a lifecycle-cost perspective and shifted funds that had been committed to building operations to pay for energy conservation measures. High-performance technologies include an effective thermal envelope; efficient boilers; heat-recovery units and Passive House strategies for residential floors; and a solar hot-water installation that furnishes 80 percent of the building’s hot water needs. 

In the small residential units, refrigerators and the body heat of the occupants provide most of the needed warmth, and electric valence heaters make up the difference. Heat-recovery units circulate fresh air into each apartment (a key strategy in tuberculosis control), and sensors automatically shut off heaters when occupants open windows. Ample daylighting allows the building’s fluorescent and LED lighting to be turned off 55 percent of the time. 

Rare for a project of this type, size, and high level of use, a graywater-recycling system was incorporated to reclaim water from showers and washing machines that is then used for toilet flushing. The team customized the innovative system with more robust pumps and filters, and streamlined maintenance procedures. The year-round availability of reclaimed water generates savings through smaller tanks on the urban, half-block site and through significantly lower sewer costs. The facility requires less than half the water of similar building thanks to the graywater system, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and native and drought-tolerant plants.

Generous daylight greets occupants through an interior courtyard, windows, and full-height glazing in public areas, including two-story spaces. Holst also enhanced connection to the outdoors with numerous views, landscaped courtyards, and balconies.

Designing the building to last 100 years, the team mixed durable materials with accessible features to accommodate technological improvements over time. The brick and concrete skin includes high-performing windows that can be replaced in the future without affecting the façade and, in many areas, the post-tensioned concrete structure serves as flooring and ceilings. Painted concrete and weathering steel in the courtyards, along with solid-surface counters and solid-core doors inside, assure long-term durability. To maintain a restorative atmosphere far into the future, Holst also situated the courtyards for maximum sunlight exposure after the adjacent developments that are anticipated are built.

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Project completion date:
June 2011
Building gross floor area: 106,000 square feet
Estimated percent of occupants using public transit, cycling, or walking: 95
Daylighting at levels that allow lights to be off during daylight hours: 55
Lighting power density (watts per square foot): 0.63
Percent of views to the outdoors: 55
Percent of spaces within 15 feet of an operable window: 35
Percent reduction of regulated potable water: 53
Potable water used for irrigation: No
Percent of rainwater from maximum anticipated 24-hour, two-year storm event that can be managed on site: 52
Total EUI (kBtu per square foot per year): 80
Net EUI (kBtu per square foot per year): 76
Percent reduction from national median EUI for building type: 51
Third-party rating: LEED Platinum
Total project cost as time of completion (land excluded): $28,750,000

Architect, interior designer, lighting designer:
Holst Architecture,
Furniture selection and procurement: Czopek & Erdenberger,
Client, owner: Home Forward,
Mechanical engineer, electrical engineer: PAE,
Structural engineer: ABHT Structural Engineers,
Civil engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers,
Geotechnical engineer: PBS Engineers,
Construction manager, general contractor: Walsh Construction,
Landscape architect: Mayer/Reed,
Green consultant: Green Building Services,

Acoustical system, ceilings:
Adhesives, coatings and sealants: Dow Sealants,
Air, moisture, and vapor barriers: Henry,
Alternative energy systems: Solar Water Heating­ Heliodyne installed by Advanced Energy Systems, and
Appliances: Whirlpool,; Kitchenaid,
Building management systems and services: Trane Controls,
Carpet: Interface,
Cladding: Mutual Materials,
Curtain walls: Kawneer,
Exterior wall systems: Pioneer Sheet Metal,
Flooring: Floor Solutions,
Furniture: Knoll, Herman Miller, Sit-On-It, Norix, Central City Concern, Nevins
Glass: Viracon
HVAC: American Heating,
Insulation: Dow,
Lighting control systems: Cooper Lighting,; Greengate,; Wattstopper,
Lighting: Prudential,; Waldmann,; Cooper Lighting,; Focal Point,; Gammalux,; Selux,; Gotham,; FC Lighting,
Metal: Hanset,; Timblin Steel
Millwork: Walsh Construction,
Plumbing and water systems: MSI Mechanical Systems,
Roofing: Tremco Roofing and Waterproofing,
Signage: Mayer/Reed,
Windows and doors: Cascadia Windows,

Data provided by AIA and Holst Architecture.