Elevated Neighbourhood Portland, Oregon, US (2022)

Design choices:
The tree house. From Oregon forests to tree houses to urban agriculture.

Elevated Neighbourhood Portland, Oregon, US

Project details

The building lot was imagined as if it were crossed by various paths that cross at different points. These intersections identify fields around them, which determine the spatial articulation of the proposed intervention.

As required by the competition, a mix of functions was envisaged, leaving level zero occupied only by the accesses to the upper floors.

The zero level is entirely passable divided between open and covered public areas, private covered spaces and gardens, urban gardens. There is continuity at level zero the only division is between public and private spaces.

Distribution system

The various rooms of the complex are accessed via a system of vertical connections and horizontal paths made up of glazed corridors facing north to reduce heating and which overlook the internal spaces. All the various blocks have an independent entrance with direct access from the public space, in order to avoid overlapping paths and to facilitate accessibility. On the ground floor, the support structures of the building resemble petrified trees that alternate with the vegetation.


The individual houses with opaque walls on three sides to reduce both their heating in summer and their cooling in winter, have a fully glazed fourth wall exposed to the south or east depending on the case, which overlooks the large terraces covered by the upper rooms. Each unit consists of a living room with kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, the windows are sliding and fully openable, so that when the weather permits, create an extension of the house towards the external terraces that overlook the environment surrounding. Most of the systems are concentrated in the inner part of the house.
In a central position with respect to the houses, there is a block serving the aforementioned with a reception-recreational room and a club house, surmounted by two hanging gardens serving the houses.

In addition to the residential one, other functions are foreseen.
Commercial spaces accessible directly from the public space below which there are covered spaces that can also be used for small markets mainly in the sale of products from urban agriculture carried out in the building and in the surrounding area. In fact, in addition to an area of ‚Äč‚Äčland intended for urban agriculture, there are roof gardens and above all a vertical farm with hydroponic and aeroponic crops is planned.
The fact of maintaining a part of the land for the production of food and the insertion of a vertical farm were considered essential to maintain a certain degree of sustainability.
A restaurant with an outdoor terrace are located at the crown of the commercial area.
A further block with independent access is intended for laboratories and work spaces.
Finally, there is a final block for study, with classrooms, laboratories and a multimedia room at the top.

Bioclimatic Architecture

Fearing climate change in mind Everything is designed to reduce overheating and the urban heat island effect as much as possible, in fact the uncovered surfaces except for a minimal portion are covered with topsoil, the surface covered by the building is largely shaded. For the same reason, the opaque walls are white so as not to accumulate heat and the roofs of the green roof type.
Part of the roofs are used as roof gardens, vegetable cultivation, terraces.
The presence of the green roof allows the collection of rainwater which is stored for various uses, a part is stored inside a tank and used for the irrigation of vegetable gardens and gardens.
On the roof there are also photovoltaic panels for the production of electricity.
From the zenithal view, the buildings disappear under the vegetation of the ground floor and the roofs.