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Block 42

Portland, Oregon

One block from the banks of the Willamette River in Portland’s South Waterfront, Block 42 is a seven story mixed-use apartment building that references the district’s history of industry while complementing the neighborhood’s new urban vitality.

Taking cues from the lumber yards that use to line the banks of Portland’s water-ways, the building form is imagined as a series of timber ‘stacks’, organized around a central elevated courtyard. The ‘stacks’ vary in height to allow sun light into the courtyard as well as create elevated roof gardens for residents that cascade down the building. Undulating the volumes in height and in plan gives the building a distinctive roofline silhouette within its context while establishing more intimate recesses and pocket plazas along the sidewalk. Referencing the distinctive textural qualities of stacked lumber, the building’s exterior material is composed of two distinct brick coursing strategies, a standard ‘flat’ profile and a rough ‘staggered’ profile and strategically implemented on the façade to create an alternating rhythm of texture, light and shadow around the building.  

The design focuses on creating an active and engaging street presence by strategically incorporating retail at busy intersections, private garden walk-up housing units along quiet landscaped laneways with defined residential lobby entrances mid-block close to public transit lines. Comprised of 200 for rent apartment units the building includes a fitness center, secure off street bicycle parking for 300 bikes, a community lounge and a private courtyard garden terrace. Secure vehicle parking is provided through an internal and below grade parking garage that totals 150 stalls.

By referencing the area’s distinctive history, celebrating the district’s unique connection to the river and creating a desirable new home for future residents, Block 42 is positioned to become a welcomed new member of the South Waterfront neighborhood.


242,000 sf


Prometheus & Cairn Pacific


Targeting LEED

© GBD Architects Incorporated 1120 NW Couch St., Suite 300 Portland, OR 97209 Tel. (503) 224-9656

©GBD Architects Incorporated

  • 1120 NW Couch St., Suite 300 Portland, OR 97209
  • (503) 224-9656