YARD, a social hub that connects to the city's landscape and its creative life
YARD, a social hub that connects to the city's landscape and its creative life
YARD, a social hub that connects to the city's landscape and its creative life

Located across the Willamette River near downtown Portland, the YARD is a 21-story, 343,100-square-foot mixed-use building that rises above the famous Burnside Bridge

Designed by the firm Skylab, the building houses natural landscaping on its rooftop to match the walking level of the bridge, creating one with the surrounding environment, while its sloping form abstractly echoes the natural slope of the waterfront site. The park is open to the public and YARD residents and offers spas, fitness and co-working areas that enjoy unparalleled views of downtown Portland across the river. The building's 284 residential units are 20 percent reserved for residents with incomes 60 percent or less below the local median income, and consist of a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments

YARD, a social hub that connects to the city's landscape and its creative life

The site was not without challenges: a full 40 percent of the land was restricted to construction of no more than five or six stories. To meet the constraints, the tower was moved off-axis and positioned between the podium halves. Externally, the building features a chocolate-colored anodized bronze metal facade that contrasts with reflective glazing. Together, the cladding and window system embody the spirit of the project, which explores how simple movements and commodities can be elevated through simple modifications. Inside, a relaxed Pacific Northwest aesthetic defines the common spaces. Apartment amenities include glass and granite countertops for smart-home technology (in some units) and electric car charging stations. Common co-working and lounge areas foster a sociable atmosphere

YARD, a social hub that connects to the city's landscape and its creative life

Knot Springs is a popular health, wellness, and community-focused spa and community center located on the 4th and 5th floors. The design of Knot Springs, also overseen by Skylab, was inspired by the hot springs found in the Alvord Desert in southeastern Oregon. YARD's elevated landscape and the undulating concrete structure that characterizes the Knot Springs spaces is reminiscent of the native riverbank. The Knot Springs palette draws inspiration from primordial materials for pool finishes using wood, glass, steel and concrete in sustainable applications. The environmental graphics, macrame plant ceiling, and small details engage guests, incorporating messaging and communication systems cast in hot concrete and wood to further refine and use materials holistically

YARD, a social hub that connects to the city's landscape and its creative life

The tower, podium porosity, and large outdoor spaces, each in its own way, combine to unite the building with the urban setting. "It's inviting the street and the public into the building," explains Skylab founder Jeff Kovel. "We're in an age where buildings have become almost like gated communities, and we really decided to create the antithesis of that. I think that's a big part of why people like to live there. They feel like it's a social hub and it connects them to other people and the creative life of the city."

YARD, a social hub that connects to the city's landscape and its creative life

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