Residential Design

Portland, OR, USA | 2.ink Studio | Client: Key Development Group

It sets itself apart from a competitive marketplace, and the market has responded positively to it.

- 2018 Awards Jury


Landscape Architect of Record/Firm

  • 2.ink Studio, P.C.
  • Key Development Group, Owner
  • Skylab Architecture, Architect
  • Andersen Construction, General Contractor
  • Open Studio Collective, Graphics and Wayfinding
  • Harper Houf Peterson Righellis Inc., Civil Engineering
  • KPFF Consulting Engineers, Structural Engineering
  • PAE Consulting Engineers, Mechanical/Plumbing Engineering
  • Berg Electric Corp., Electrical Engineering
  • GeoDesign Inc., Geotechnical Engineer


Perched at the foot of the historic Burnside Bridge, YARD transforms a remnant parcel in Portland's Central Eastside Industrial District into a shared community landscape that redefines the relationship of a residential tower and its context. The design team, long-term collaborators of exploring unique relationships between site and building, were excited by the challenge of the highly visible site that connected to surrounding context on multiple topographic levels.

Folded garden planes of the 5th level podium – intended to recall the banks of the adjacent Willamette River – slope towards downtown Portland and include a series of social spaces accessible both to the public and the residents who live there. A collaborative approach to inside/outside relationships shaped every aspect of the podium level amenities, which include a spa, performance space, yoga studio, recreation, gathering areas, and future restaurant.

YARD represents a new typology in Portland, serving as a catalyst project for continued development of unique site-specific responses to urban multi-family development.


Portland's Eastside Industrial District has been long held as a working center along the shores of the Willamette River, opposite Portland's downtown. Separated from the riverbank by the I-5 freeway, the district hosts small manufacturing businesses, freight companies, and industrial warehouses. In recent years however, demographic changes have resulted in an influx of technology and creative companies taking a foothold in the district.

To guide a new vision for this area, the City of Portland opened a key landholding known as the "Burnside Bridgehead" to development. The Burnside Bridgehead site sits immediately north of the Burnside Bridge and adjacent to the renowned Burnside Skatepark. The site slopes dramatically up to the east with panoramic views to downtown, Mt. Hood, and the Willamette River. Surrounded by five major development projects, the Burnside Bridgehead is at the center of a rapidly developing area lacking outdoor gathering spaces.

The YARD project began with a design team that has built a long-term collaboration exploring the relationship between building and landscape. The site posed an intriguing possibility of blurring lines between disciplines and eroding ordinary distinctions between building and context, inside and outside. The YARD was immediately seen as a potential catalyst for re-visioning the larger district and providing a major gateway from downtown to Portland's east side. The building is located on a complex site that engages the surrounding context on multiple topographic levels, including the adjacent Burnside Bridge at approximately the 5th floor of the building. The design team was immediately drawn to both strengthening these existing connections and creating dynamic new spaces on the 5th level terrace, in clear view from the adjacent bridge. After exploring a series of conventional level roof decks, the team eventually focused on an approach that pays homage to the slope of the riverbank, the skatepark below, and views to downtown beyond. The result is a continuously folded inhabitable green roof interspersed with programmed spaces nestled below the building's residential tower. Openings at the base of the tower connect the two sides of the terrace.

The green roof terrace is a unique intersection of private amenity space for the housing residents and public access to the retail and outdoor gathering spaces. The relationship of the green roof to the adjacent bridge creates an illusion of the terrace being at street level even though it is on the 5th floor. The folded planes of the green roof create varying levels that are programmed as public spa, performance space, yoga, recreation, gathering areas, and eventually restaurants and other retail. Views out from the roof open dramatically to downtown while views into the garden from the bridge create a stage where the passerby can witness the spectacle of events happening on the terrace. The result is a garden that is integrally connected to the surrounding urban fabric, both physically and visually.

The street level retail advances a foundational element in Portland city planning - active and engaging street frontages. The west side pays homage to the loading docks of nearby warehouse buildings, providing a space for public activities such as café seating. The design team renovated the public pedestrian stair to the north of the site and carefully integrated the building's lobby with an entry plaza that extends to 2nd Avenue. The plaza's fractured forms highlight lighting and wayfinding to the public stair and building entry. Stormwater is managed at the building edge and bike parking is provided at the street edge.

In ecological terms, the green roof covers 60% of the building footprint and manages the majority of the stormwater runoff from the project. All the tower water is treated over a passageway above the green roof terrace. The undulating panels use an engineered system of expanded geotextiles to support soil depths up to 1 foot, allowing for a greater diversity in plant species necessary to create habitat for urban pollinators. The planting is a rich, seasonally variable mix of evergreens and perennials that were chosen for their ability to withstand the southwestern facing orientation of the roof and strong winds that travel down the river. Each tree, critical for providing long-term shade at the tower edge, is planted within a generous soil volume that is hidden below the decking.

Yard is unique in its integration of landscape and building, its rethinking of public access to a roof terrace, and its unique integration into the fabric of the city. Yard creates dynamic and activated spaces throughout the entire project and sets a higher bar for multifamily living in Portland.


Product Sources: SOILS

  • American Hydrotech

Product Sources: HARDSCAPE

  • Stepstone, Inc., Foreverlawn

Product Sources: LIGHTING

  • Jescoe, Ligman, RAB

Product Sources: FURNITURE

  • Landscape Forms

Product Sources: IRRIGATION

  • Rainbird, Hunter Dripline

Product Sources: GREEN ROOFS

  • American Hydrotech