Architects: PDX Building / THA Architecture Inc. & GBD Architects
Location: Portland, OR, USA
Area: 380000.0 sqm
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Jeremy Bitterman
From the architect. At sixteen stories and 380,000 square-feet, the prominent Cyan Building in downtown Portland offers a new mode of sustainable urban living. Designed with the belief that less can be more, most of its 364 units are compact one and two BR apartments, with many under 550 square-feet. However, strategic detailing and efficient environmental systems create a sense of spaciousness that belies their affordable cost. With convenient proximity to urban amenities and LEED Gold building performance, Cyan offers quality over quantity to those who value a minimum impact, high density urban lifestyle.
Cyan’s design reflects this priority at every scale. Its units boast oversized double casement windows and sliding partitions that create a sense of openness and allow for flexible configurations. Compact and energy efficient kitchen appliances, dual-flush toilets, and low-flow showerheads and bathroom fixtures enhance energy and water efficiency, while the use of low-VOC finishes and locally-sourced materials with high recycled content reduce Cyan’s resource footprint as much as possible.
Sustainable strategies also operate at the building scale. Cyan runs on 100% electric power derived from renewable resources, and its mechanical system employs high efficiency speed chillers and fan coil units for cooling and heating needs. Coupled with high performance glazing and motion sensor lighting, this results in a 20% energy savings over buildings of similar size and function.
With its dynamic glass façade and its ground-level engagement with the streetscape, Cyan is firmly situated in its urban context. However, its adjacency to a series of parks designed by Lawrence Halprin, its lush central courtyard, and an eco-roof of native and adaptive species also offer residents a peaceful urban respite. Rainwater, so abundant in Portland, is captured and filtered by the eco-roof before being stored for irrigation in a 40,000-gallon, on-site cistern. Like many other carefully considered elements of Cyan, comfort and performance are synthesized in a manner that is both sensually appealing and environmentally sound. And while building performance and urban vitality will make the long-term case for Cyan’s environmental and social benefits, its current 80+% occupancy rate attests to its immediate ability to provide a much-needed form of urban dwelling.