NW Flanders Co-Housing goes before Landmarks Commission (images)

A proposed co-housing development in Northwest Portland has gone before the Historic Landmarks Commission to receive Design Advice. The project design is by Works Progress Architecture (until recently known as Works Partnership), and would include 21 dwelling units at the upper levels, with common amenity spaces for the building’s residents at the ground floor.

404 NW 23rd Ave

The project site is immediately to the east of an existing mixed use building at 404 NW 23rd Ave, that houses Kitchen Kaboodle. The site is currently used as surface parking serving the building. Although the new building would not be required to provide parking under today’s zoning code, the redevelopment is required to continue to provide the parking for the building to the east, imposed as a condition of a zone change in the 1980s. The project is located in the Alphabet Historic District, and is therefore subject to review by the Historic Landmarks Commission.

As described by Bureau of Development Services Staff in a memo to the Landmarks Commission the four story building is a “very contemporary interpretation of historic multidwelling development in the Alphabet Historic District. The rounded bays combine the traditional bay window typology found on some multi dwelling buildings within the district and the rounded bays and turrets found on some, large single dwelling buildings in the district.” The primary material proposed for the building would be cedar shingles, with storefront glazing at the ground floor.

404 NW 23rd Ave

At the October 24th advisory hearing the Landmarks Commission was generally supportive of the building, including in its massing and contemporary interpretation of historic precedents. Discussion items included whether the offset windows should align vertically, in order to calm the facade and provide more of a reference to traditional fenestration patterns. A further area of discussion concerned the ground floor of the building, which was described as reading as though it had a retail program despite the lack of non-residential uses.

In order to gain approval the project will be required to go through a Type III Historic Resource Review with public hearings before the Landmarks Commission.


3 thoughts on “NW Flanders Co-Housing goes before Landmarks Commission (images)

  1. That’s actually a nice-looking building. Brick is always good. As much as I’m generally in favor of mixed-use *anything*, I must admit that the design on many of the recent buildings leaves much to be desired.

  2. That’s not brick. “The primary material proposed for the building would be cedar shingles, with storefront glazing at the ground floor.”

  3. Wow, finally, a really well-conceived design that doesn’t look like it cam out of the same extruder as all other residential projects going up in the city today. It nods to the vernacular of the district without being historical pastiche, and is distinctly contemporary and sculptural. I think it’s hilarious that the commission is concerned with the offset fenestration, which here I think creates some interesting design rhythm, as opposed to its de rigueur and unnecessary employment on virtually any new development in the city over the past two years. Likewise, I feel like the somewhat retail-like aesthetic for the ground floor blends well with nearby buildings. Just because it’s an all-residential building doesn’t mean it has to look closed off, there are plenty examples of newer residential buildings without ground floor retail that have an airy and open lobby area.

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