Located at the heart of Portland’s revitalized industrial Pearl District with its vibrant arts scene and active public spaces, Welby will be a 21-story mixed-use building offering retail and 277 market-rate and affordable housing units—including offerings with two or three bedrooms to accommodate families. Guided by the owner’s social impact pillars of Sustainability, Creative Expression, and DEI, the all-electric residential building will reduce its environmental impact by eliminating carbon emissions.
Occupying the southern half of the block along NW Kearney and 13th Avenue, a designated Historic District for Portland, Welby will enhance the active urban experience by repurposing what were once loading dock areas as pedestrian “sidewalks.” The design features a series of stacked forms atop a concrete base that ascend in height as the building steps toward the northwest, maximizing daylit exterior spaces along the south façade.
We envisioned Welby as an ode to Portland’s industrial history. Inspired by the industrial roots of the Pearl District, the building façade is a window wall system in two shades of deep forest green, tones inspired by the steel bridges along the Willamette. Carbonized wood accents at the lobby reference the creosote wood of railroad cross-ties, while bronze-toned wall panels and metal canopies at the ground level pay homage to the steel tracks and raw metal prevalent in the Pearl’s industrial past. The underside of the continuous canopy along the historic 13th Avenue will feature local artistry spanning 90 feet in length, creating an inviting space along the loading dock façade that people can engage.
Ecoroofs at Welby’s different podium levels offer terraces for gathering, both for residents and as larger communal amenities. Ascending up the building, each terrace features a subtle shift in plant communities, enhancing the living experience with a readily accessible escape to nature within the city.
As one of the largest all-electric residential towers in Portland, Welby not only shows that meaningful carbon reduction is possible at scale, but demonstrates that eliminating natural gas will result in an all-around better building. Air-to-air heat pumps efficiently provide a high degree of thermal comfort and electric cooktops result in a healthier indoor environment.
High-quality indoor air was a top design priority for this project. By eliminating gas appliances within living units, occupants are protected from the harmful byproducts of combustion. Additional indoor air quality strategies include heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) that supply filtered outdoor air directly into occupied spaces, and vented kitchen exhaust to flush cooking fumes and odors. A community herb garden and workout facility promote wellness throughout the building.
Though designed as a developer-led, market-rate housing project, 16 units (6% of the total project) are reserved for those making less than 60% of the median family income. These units feature a mix of layouts, including three-bedroom options to accommodate larger families.
392,000sf, 21 stories