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Block 45

Portland, Oregon

Block 45’s design references the South Waterfront’s distinct shipbuilding history.  The seven story mixed-used apartment building is composed of three forms that allude to the shapes of dry-docked ships. 

During World War II, Kaiser Shipbuilding operated three manufacturing yards in Portland. The slipways for these new war vessels lined the shores of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, constructing steel ships for the U.S. Navy.  Seeing inspiration in the architecture of these dry docks, Block 45 reflects on that industrial history and combines that with modern urban livability. Courtyard green space, ample in-unit daylight, and a versatile maker workshop create a desirable apartment building with authentic historic roots.

The ship inspiration for Block 45 extends from the overall building masses to the details and materiality. The pitched rooflines and lifted brick corners help emphasize the shape. The flashed red-brick skin is inspired by the rusty patina that steel obtains when exposed to water. The balconies of the building are inspired by the metalworking craft and are made of welded steel and perforated panel. The lobby also highlights this metalwork – with a custom crafted welded stair that leads to the amenity space and gangway bridge on the second floor of the lobby.

Building on the project’s passion for hand-craft, The Slipway features a unique ground floor workshop that is shared by the tenants of the 300 apartments.  It’s a community garage where everyone can build and create.   The space opens to the secondary building lobby, where residents display art in a gallery setting.

The plaza at the northeast corner provides generous spill-out space from retail, and blends into the northern residential courtyard. The landscaping and integrated benches feature a triangulated geometry that mirrors the forms of the building, offering a cohesive outdoor space that connects to the surrounding community.

Breaking the mold with a historically inspired design and everyday livability, The Slipway is a timeless addition to the South Waterfront community.


346,000 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