North Lombard Mixed-Use

Portland, Oregon

How do we design a contemporary, urban mixed-use housing project with only a neighboring convenience store for context?

North Lombard Mixed-Use. A contemporary, four story apartment building with ground floor office space. Three distinct portions of the residential floors jut outward from the main building. Large windows are incorporated throughout.

This new construction of a 4 story mixed-use building with apartments, live-work, and retail is located at the heart of a steadily growing neighborhood in North Portland. Unlike many recent housing developments in the city, it provides off-street parking and alley access for its future tenants. The massing of the building will be constructed right up to the lot line all sides, so allowing for daylight wells was key for carving out units at the center of the floor plan.

With an approximately 100’x 100’ site and no property lines perpendicular to one another, the building will be designed square. As a mid-block site, there are two sides of building to be directly on property lines, which creates relatively solid shear wall opportunities. In the future, it is very likely that new development will sandwich the building on both sides at much taller heights than currently populate this portion of North Lombard. With so little contextual fabric to design to, this new structure will stand out amongst its neighbors as a beacon for urban and contemporary architecture.

Year Completed:
2020 (estimated)
40,000 sf
46 units
(Image courtesy of The Oregon Historical Society Research Library)
Charrette Often
Site Analysis
Process Diagrams


With a site currently devoid of architecturally significant buildings, FFA looked to historic Lombard Street and the surrounding neighborhood for influence. Drawing on the lumber mills that once proliferated the industrial area, FFA conducted a number of studies to investigate how stacked lumber could influence a housing project.



Historic North Portland was home to a number of shipyards, which became integral to the United State’s maritime construction operation during World War II. Nearby Swan Island was home to a number of drydocks, some of which were made out of local Douglas Fir timbers. On these drydocks, there were more than 2,700 Liberty Ships constructed for the US military, and scores of British merchant vessels. FFA studied the forms of these historic structures and their potential influence on building design.

Portland Drydock (January 1906 Kiser Photo Co. photographs,  Org. Lot 140; Kiser 3382; b6.f22, Oregon  Historical Society Research Library)
Barge Study
Drydock Study
Looking East
Looking West – Night
Efficient, light-filled studios