Co-conceived by architect and contractor, Q21 is an innovative mixed-use commercial and multi-family building in a catalytic location within Portland’s Northwest Master Plan area. The design combines active ground floor retail, second floor office space, multi-story above and below-grade structured parking, a highly diverse mix of apartments and a third-floor resident outdoor courtyard. The 7-story, 200,000 square foot building contains several innovative design features.
The design retained and creatively re-invented the existing two-story concrete tilt-up shell on the site (a former auto parts warehouse), preserving some panels in-situ, tilting down and re-positioning panels and cutting portals in panels to frame ground floor townhome units. The result is a unique architectural aesthetic expression and a more sustainable building.
YBA pioneered a two-story Type I-A concrete podium below wood construction in Portland. The successful appeal for “over-2” construction helped pave the way for the introduction of the now commonplace seven story “5-over-2” buildings to the city.
Q21 features a highly diverse unit mix—33 unique unit types from 300 SF micro-studios to three-bed luxury apartments. This facilitated a rapid lease-up, premium asset value and leasing resilience for the developer, due to the diversity of units available and resulting resilience of the building as a whole amid fluctuating market conditions.
The design features innovative “XXI” steel structural bearing columns at the entrance on NW 21st Ave. They support a projecting four-story concrete element that accentuates the entry and provides an iconic element for the building. This and other structural feats such as the integration of the existing tilt-up concrete structure lead to the Structural Engineers Association of Oregon (SEAO) awarding Q21 it’s 2017 Excellence in Structural Engineering Award for a New Building Over $10M.
The design also minimized below grade structured parking by integrating two intertwined parking ramps in the middle of the floor plate. This necessitated the design of unique two-story, single-aspect townhomes that feature a tall double-height living space at their heart and south-facing covered porches with raised stoops. These were among the first units to pre-lease.
The contractor, Owner and architect collaborated closely with prospective retail tenants prior to occupancy to better integrate tenant space designs into the building.