Photo of Wy'East Plaza

Ⓒ Quanta Collectiv

Photo of Wy'East Plaza

Ⓒ Quanta Collectiv

Photo of Wy'East Plaza

Ⓒ Quanta Collectiv

Photo of Wy'East Plaza

Ⓒ Quanta Collectiv

Photo of Wy'East Plaza

Ⓒ Quanta Collectiv

Photo of Wy'East Plaza

Ⓒ Quanta Collectiv

Wy'East Plaza

Beautiful Cost-Effective Design

A place for second chances and life transitions, Wy’East Plaza meets a current need for safe, dignified affordable housing while offering a vision for the future of East Portland. Named after a Native American term for Mt. Hood, the four-story building’s 175 units will primarily be dedicated to lower income residents. Cost containment strategies challenged our architects and interior designers to develop new solutions that would provide housing for more families, per dollar spent. Complete with a courtyard, community spaces, and carless transit options, Wy’East Plaza supports people starting their next chapter and encourages the future of its neighborhood to be more walkable and residential. Collaboration amongst all stakeholders from the very start created the ideal harmony of design, constructibility, and budget. We maximized our resources through simple, elegant Scandinavian-inspired design—not sacrificing quality or beauty.

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Portland, Oregon
COMPLETED IN 2020
  • 175
  • 4 stories
  • 99,100 sq. ft.
MARKET

Housing

DISCIPLINES

Architecture , Interiors

PROJECT TYPE

Affordable Housing

PROJECT CONTACT

Architecture: Jason Roberts

Interiors: Leah Wheary

housing@ankrommoisan.com


Architecture Story

Raising the Bar for Cost Containment

Architecture Photo of Wy'East Plaza

Ⓒ Quanta Collectiv

Architecture Photo of Wy'East Plaza

Ⓒ Quanta Collectiv

Architecture Photo of Wy'East Plaza

Ⓒ Quanta Collectiv

Architecture Photo of Wy'East Plaza

Ⓒ Quanta Collectiv

Architecture Photo of Wy'East Plaza

Ⓒ Quanta Collectiv

Architecture Photo of Wy'East Plaza

Ⓒ Quanta Collectiv

Home should be a place you feel proud of no matter what price range you can afford. We take seriously our role in designing affordable housing that provides families with safety, durability, accessibility, and style. In a city facing tremendous housing price increases, Wy’East Plaza’s 175 units—studios, one-, and two- bedrooms—are dedicated to low-income residents struggling to find dignified housing. This four-story building sets the tone for the future of its neighborhood: more residential, accessible via walking and public transit, and affordable for different income brackets. Offering ample bike racks and public transit just a block away, Wy’East Plaza is very accessible for people without cars. Deprioritizing parking spaces allowed us to design a larger building that can house more families. The architecture combines urban and residential details, like pitched roofs, bay windows, and board and batten siding, for a natural transition from its commercial surroundings to neighboring homes. Distinctively textured siding and yellow pops of color announces the entry and provide wayfinding. The courtyard wrapping around the building is only accessible via key fob, making it a secure park-like setting to relax amongst unique seating areas, lush plantings, walking paths, and, eventually, a custom mural by a local female artist. The rainwater collection feature with barrels and planters lets residents recycle rainwater for gardening. Inside, durable, stylish materials offer a simple, modern aesthetic. Several community areas promote connection and a sense of belonging amongst residents. Large walk-in closets with power outlets—an unheard of amenity in affordable housing—can double as home offices or nurseries, providing important flexibility for different lifestyles. An improvement feature not visible to residents is the new fire-tested exterior wall assembly that we developed to maximize framing efficiency. We hope this will improve affordable housing projects going forward. Wy’East Plaza feels like market rate housing, showcasing the potential of design and construction cost containment done right. We rigorously investigated cost and space saving measures, meeting with dozens of subcontractors in the design phase to gather multiple perspectives and create the most efficient plan. Unlike most projects, our architects built a full-size unit mockup for testing efficient design strategies, which ensured we optimized square footage while retaining our client’s standards of livability and functionality. At Wy’East Plaza, we developed cost efficient solutions that raise the bar across our industry, delivering this building at a lower cost ($111k) per unit than any other Portland-area affordable housing project built at the time. More efficient budgeting and floorplans means more beautiful, affordable homes for those in need.

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Interior Story

Scandinavian-Inspired Comfort

Architecture Photo of Wy'East Plaza

Ⓒ Quanta Collectiv

Architecture Photo of Wy'East Plaza

Ⓒ Quanta Collectiv

Architecture Photo of Wy'East Plaza

Ⓒ Quanta Collectiv

Architecture Photo of Wy'East Plaza

Ⓒ Quanta Collectiv

Architecture Photo of Wy'East Plaza

Ⓒ Quanta Collectiv

Architecture Photo of Wy'East Plaza

Ⓒ Quanta Collectiv

Pursuing a vision of positive change for both people and place, Wy’East Plaza brings much needed affordable housing to a mainly commercial neighborhood in East Portland. The four-story building’s 175 units are dedicated to median to low-income residents. Yet, a simple, stylish aesthetic inspired by Scandinavian design and the Pacific Northwest make Wy’East Plaza feel market rate—balancing cost-effective minimalism while instilling a clean, playful, and inviting environment families will be comfortable in. Our designers grounded the interior with muted accent colors to compliment the blue and grey exterior, natural wood trims, and black detailing, set against crisp white and taupe backdrops. The community areas designed for social gatherings are punctuated with hints of texture and cheerful accent colors. The lobby was designed to efficiently combine circulation paths and communal relaxation spots with lounge chairs. One of the two feature walls showcases custom art using reclaimed wood from trees that grew in the surface parking lot previously occupying this site. It depicts a graphically stylized Mt. Hood—Wy’East is the Multnomah tribe’s name for Mt. Hood—and is located on an east facing wall (where the mountain would appear if there was a window). More reclaimed wood from the trees at the site was also incorporated into four lounge chairs and two coffee tables. Not just a connection to the site, the warm wood compliments the clean lines of the interior, creating a pleasant, residential atmosphere. Nearby, the architectural open staircase, surrounds a cozy reading nook with a geometric wallcovering and inviting plum colored millwork. The community room features a textured, blue entertainment wall and kitchen with a bright white tile backsplash and light wood dining tables and lunch counter. For the shared spaces, our client requested artwork primarily by local female and minority artists. Each is recognized by a biography plaque next to their piece. Fostering community, each floor has a seating area and is marked by an identifying accent paint color and custom millwork signage by the elevators. Dynamic hemlock trim details around every unit entry and unique wood grain on the doors make coming home feel special. Light, airy finishes give the studios, one-, and two- bedrooms a clean, welcoming feeling: warm white walls surround concrete-look countertops and whitewashed wood-look cabinetry. Faux hardwood vinyl plank and terrazzo inspired rubber floorings are stylish, durable, and easy to clean. Working within cost containment limits at Wy’East did not limit the quality of materials or variety of design. Rather, this challenged our team to be especially creative and conscientious with their choices to deliver interior spaces on budget, that people would feel proud to live in.

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