Slate, located in Portland, Oregon, is a 10 story, mixed-use, transit-oriented development that earned LEED Gold certification in December 2016. Slate represents a cornerstone in the City’s efforts to revitalize the Burnside Bridgehead area with workspace and residential apartments close to the Central City. Completed in October 2016, the 147,000sf building, has 75 residential apartment units on the upper six floors, 31,140sf of creative offices on floors 2, 3 and 4, and 8,335sf of retail space at street level.

The site forms the north corner of the east side industrial district and is part of the Burnside Bridgehead redevelopment effort. It situates itself at the eastern foot of the Burnside Bridge at the geographic center of Portland. The Couch street approach and MLK Boulevard meet at the southeast corner of the site and impose overlapping, sweeping easements on the site boundary.

The Burnside Bridge has long been seen as the central cross hairs of the city. It is the literal divide between the north and the south neigh­borhoods of the city. The Bridgehead site has recently been modified to accommodate a new traffic pattern of the Burnside-Couch couplet. This new pattern creates a curved and flowing force on the regular Portland street grid as it sweeps traffic up onto the Burnside Bridge heading west. The site is affected by this force and is rounded along its edge as a result.

A modern re-conceptualization of not only the historic warehouse buildings that make up the Industrial Eastside sanctuary, but also the district itself—which has experienced an organized transformation from old industry to new. 

With its collection of historic warehouse that have been adapted to house industrial creative workspace, the Eastside is the hot bed for Portland’s maker market. The gritty nature of the Eastside remains a major identifying element. Slate expresses the notion that there is presently no difference in the types of spaces or the locations where one lives or works.

The program inflects the needs for light and air to become more porous towards the top as the residential units filter in. The result is a building that is particular and universal at the same time, the embo­diment of a progressively adaptive and evolving district. From both the west view from the city, or the east approach, the facades create a framework of activities — episodic views that collage to form a hive of activity.


Sited on a 100’ x 200’ half block, the post-tensioned concrete building is LEED Gold designed to incorporate high efficiency HVAC systems and a robust building envelope. Clad in composite metal panel and unitized curtain wall, the building provides many elevated outdoor spaces and responds materially to its industrial context.

The design team worked closely with the cladding manufacturers to achieve 2 distinct façade systems. The North and South facades represent themselves as a contiguous slate with the glass color closely matched to that of the metal panels, while the East and West orientations provide a remarkable contrast with a wide range of depths and rigorously studied faceting.

Location Portland, OR
Date 2016
Total Square ft 147,000
Typology Mixed-Use
Rating LEED Gold
Client Beam Development
CLIENT Urban Development + Partners
Status Completed


Architect Carrie Strickland, Bill Neburka, Jennifer Dzienis, Lauren Page, Katie David
Landscape Architect Lango Hansen
Interior Architect Weedman Design Partners
General Contractor Yorke and Curtis
Structural Engineer DCI Engineers
Mechanical Engineer BEA Consulting
Photography Joshua Jay Elliott