Photo of Orchards at Orenco
Photo of Orchards at Orenco
Photo of Orchards at Orenco
Photo of Orchards at Orenco
Photo of Orchards at Orenco

Orchards at Orenco

An Orchard Called Home

We are working toward the day when buildings produce more energy than they consume and consume more waste than they produce. When Reach Community Development bought this vacant, two-acre site in 2011, this non-profit affordable housing provider had something special in mind: not simply to build affordable units but to create a new, comprehensive, sustainable model for affordable living. This master-planned, three-phase affordable development embodies Reach’s vision with thoughtful planning and design. On its completion, Phase I became North America’s largest Passive House-certified project. In Phase II, our meaningful and educated changes led to another Passive House certification at half the financial premium, and Phase III took on the need for affordable family housing.

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Hillsboro, Oregon
COMPLETED IN 2018
  • 167 units
  • 3 stories
  • 167,768 sq. ft.
MARKET

Housing

DISCIPLINES

Architecture , Interiors

PROJECT TYPE

Affordable Housing

PROJECT CONTACT

Architecture: Michael Bonn

Interiors: Leah Wheary

housing@ankrommoisan.com


Architecture Story

Into the Heart of Silicon Forest

Energy efficiency can and should be available to all families, regardless of household income. Our work with Reach brings their vision alive in a specific, tangible way while refining our industry’s best practices and pushing energy efficiency and comfort standards. Reach’s vision for this development west of Portland was convenient, transit-oriented, and affordable housing to those earning incomes of less than 50-60% of the median family income. It would meet energy-efficient Passive House standards, previously unheard-of in affordable housing, with the ultimate goal of lowering residents’ combined expenses for rent, utilities, and transportation. The development came to life in three phases. Phase I and II are built to the aggressive energy standards of Passive House Institute U.S., and the two- and three-bedroom apartments of Phase III are comparable in energy efficiency. All three phases share the same integrated campus with multiple play areas for a variety of ages, as well as a thoughtful array of community-run raised garden beds and shared outdoor plazas. When designing the site, we worked closely with an actively involved neighborhood association. Carefully listening to and addressing their thoughts and concerns, we created a master plan that preserve the area’s trees as much as possible. To honor the site’s history as a tree nursery, our design of Phase III centers on preserving several large oak and chestnut trees. A park-like setting of curved sidewalks, a turf lawn, and carefully preserved trees gives this 58-unit home the biggest back yard of the Orchards neighborhood. To save the heritage horse chestnut tree, designers split the development into two separate buildings connected by a skybridge. Brick on the exterior adds durability and long-term beauty, and wood detailing with trellises celebrate the Orenco’s neighborhood. Families here have quiet, truly affordable places to call home that provide 100% fresh ducted air, improved construction quality reducing the risk of moisture intrusion, and lowered noise from the adjacent light rail line. PV panels generate onsite electricity and cut Reach’s overall electrical bills, allocating more money for maintenance and future upgrades. This was the largest passive house certified in North America, and the results have been tremendous. We saved Reach $1 million in Phase II by redesigning the roof, building layout, and incorporating our lessons from Phase 1. Energy efficiencies are performing as modeled or better. We’ve shared much of our progress and lessons through blogs, articles, interviews, and at conferences, hoping to inform and inspire other owners, designers, and builders who want to bring Passive House and other ultra-low energy concepts to future multi-unit residential buildings.

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Interior Story

Nurturing Community

Reach’s vision: convenient, transit-oriented, affordable housing for people earning less than $30,000 annually. Their development would meet Passive House standards, a previously unheard-of energy-efficiency standard in affordable housing, with the goal of lowering residents’ overall expenses for rent, utilities, and transportation. All three phases share the same integrated campus with multiple play areas for a variety of ages, as well as a thoughtful array of community-run raised garden beds and shared outdoor plazas. Phase I and II meet Passive House Institute U.S. standards, and the two- and three-bedroom apartments of Phase III are comparable. To honor the site’s history as a tree nursery, natural, exposed wood serves as our unifying theme throughout the buildings. Reclaimed trees form art panels in the lobby and on each floor. A community kitchen features a farm-style table of reclaimed wood, crafted as a collaborative piece with the help of each of the project's consultants. The main staircase features a mélange of fruit tree woods, and a laser-engraved image of a tree creates a stunning piece of art. Bright colors, modern finishes, and recurring natural elements make these homes a modern interpretation of the craftsman aesthetic. A community room and kitchen, a food pantry, a laundry room, and a fitness room bring residents together and further create a sense of community.

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