Langano Apartments

Langano Apartments is a four-story, 30-unit mixed use building located in the Buckman neighborhood of Portland, OR. The site fronts the historic street car commercial corridor, Hawthorne Boulevard, and is situated at the corner of a secondary street which leads into the quiet residential neighborhood. The project was initiated as a retirement investment by an aging couple who single-handedly operated an Ethiopian restaurant in an old house on the site for over 25 years. We assisted them is a strategy of reverse engineering a proforma for the project based solely on the equity they retained in the land, the contractor offered required liquidity, and a community barn raising, of sorts, occurred.

Working with a highly restrictive budget, we looked to maximize unit count, as well as variety as both a sustainable financial model, as well as a way for them to support diversity of occupants in a community they had become fixtures in. We reduced the architectural vocabulary of the building to reflect its very simple program distribution, as well as creating a vehicle to stitch the scale of the larger building with the adjacent single family houses and duplexes. The skin of the building reinforces the base archetype vocabulary, adapting its expression based on the two different frontages of commercial boulevard and neighborhood street.

To ventilate what is typically an internalized environment, the corner block is allowed to rotate into the flow of avenue traffic, both creating a seam to allow south sun to penetrate to the elevator core as well as presenting a more nuanced face to the urban corner.

The Langano Apartments were awarded with the AIA Northwest Pacific Region Awards 2016. The jury comments "The clean, natural-finished wood base provides the perfect support for the residential forms above and provide a reversal of expectations for how this project could have been massed and detailed."

Location Portland, OR
Date 2015
Typology Mixed-Use
Status Completed


Architect Carrie Strickland, Bill Neburka
Team Members Jennifer Dzienis, Ian Roll
General Contractor Yorke & Curtis
Structural Engineer VLMK
Civil Engineer TM Rippey Consulting Engineers
Photographer Joshua Jay Elliott