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An Award-Winning Landscape Design in Portland

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Portland, Oregon–based studio Mayer/Reed won a 2013 Honor Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects for its work on Bud Clark Commons, a supportive housing project in the city's Pearl district.
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  Spearheaded by housing organization Home Forward, the Portland Housing Authority, Transition Projects, and Multnomah County, Bud Clark Commons provides affordable housing and services for the chronically homeless and “high barrier” individuals—those afflicted by drug and alcohol addiction or mental health issues. Breaking away from an austere "institutional look" was an essential element of the project. “When people step foot inside Bud Clark Commons, they feel valued, they feel affirmed. Part of what we’re trying to do is give people a sense that this community really cares about them and their progress,” Commissioner Nick Fish told us in a story we previously published. Photo by Bruce Forster.

    Spearheaded by housing organization Home Forward, the Portland Housing Authority, Transition Projects, and Multnomah County, Bud Clark Commons provides affordable housing and services for the chronically homeless and “high barrier” individuals—those afflicted by drug and alcohol addiction or mental health issues. Breaking away from an austere "institutional look" was an essential element of the project. “When people step foot inside Bud Clark Commons, they feel valued, they feel affirmed. Part of what we’re trying to do is give people a sense that this community really cares about them and their progress,” Commissioner Nick Fish told us in a story we previously published. Photo by Bruce Forster.

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  The ASLA jury lauded the Commons's landscape design and stated the following on their website: "This is an SRO that is humane and treats people with dignity. The space is open and inviting and there is a nice use of material. The gate ornamentation signifies the decision of the residents not to be homeless. The space is laid out like a home and is very well-resolved." Photo by Bruce Forster.

    The ASLA jury lauded the Commons's landscape design and stated the following on their website: "This is an SRO that is humane and treats people with dignity. The space is open and inviting and there is a nice use of material. The gate ornamentation signifies the decision of the residents not to be homeless. The space is laid out like a home and is very well-resolved." Photo by Bruce Forster.

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  In the project narrative published on asla.org, Mayer/Reed States: "For most homeless people coming off the street, it's hard to take the first step. We asked ourselves, how would we draw people in from sidewalks, vacant lots, doorways and undersides of bridges? We came to understand the symbolic and physical importance of passing through a gateway to enter the courtyard and seek help." Photo by Bruce Forster.

    In the project narrative published on asla.org, Mayer/Reed States: "For most homeless people coming off the street, it's hard to take the first step. We asked ourselves, how would we draw people in from sidewalks, vacant lots, doorways and undersides of bridges? We came to understand the symbolic and physical importance of passing through a gateway to enter the courtyard and seek help." Photo by Bruce Forster.

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  Large windows allow the Commons' staff to surpervise activity outside.

    Large windows allow the Commons' staff to surpervise activity outside.

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  Sustainable features like green roofs, rainwater collection, and stormwater retention are integrated throughout the design. The project as a whole achieved a LEED Platinum rating. Photo by Bruce Forster.

    Sustainable features like green roofs, rainwater collection, and stormwater retention are integrated throughout the design. The project as a whole achieved a LEED Platinum rating. Photo by Bruce Forster.

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  The studio divided the outdoor spaces into a series of rooms, mimicking the circulation of a family home. The courtyard is adjacent to the men's shelter. Photo by Bruce Forster.

    The studio divided the outdoor spaces into a series of rooms, mimicking the circulation of a family home. The courtyard is adjacent to the men's shelter. Photo by Bruce Forster.

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  The outdoor spaces feature hardy materials like concrete and weathering steel. Mayer/Reed specified drought-tolerant and native plants and grasses.

    The outdoor spaces feature hardy materials like concrete and weathering steel. Mayer/Reed specified drought-tolerant and native plants and grasses.

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  Artist Masayuki Nagase created these stone pieces in the courtyard.

    Artist Masayuki Nagase created these stone pieces in the courtyard.

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  Here's the site plan.

    Here's the site plan.

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