Woody Guthrie Place


ROSE Community Development

Woody Guthrie is a 64-unit multi-family, mixed income apartment building in Lents Town Center. The four-story building includes one, two and three-bedrooms units, three-bedroom townhomes, a community room, outdoor plaza, play area, and a roof-top exterior deck.

The design draws inspiration from songwriter Woody Guthrie’s time spent in Oregon when Guthrie lived in the Lents neighborhood for a month during 1941. Woody Guthrie’s tenure in Oregon was brief, but the songs he wrote for the Bonneville Power Administration captured the spirit of the time and continue to resonate today. Guthrie’s dedication to the plight of displaced farmers and unemployed workers is the reason that ROSE CDC chose to name this project in his honor.

During the design phase, imagery of the box car emerged. The box car, a literal vehicle for those searching for a better life, provided guidance to the form and materiality of Woody Guthrie Place. The building’s massing depicts a line of box cars – three distinct masses coupled via recessed joints in the building. The primary form of each mass floats above the solid base as a box car floats above the railroad tracks. The materials used on the building reflect the rich textures seen on traditional box cars of Guthrie’s era. The layering of those materials on the building represents sliding boxcar doors with repeating vertical elements that create a rhythm at the street level evoking the sense of a passing train.

Programmatically, Woody Guthrie Place is the embodiment of ROSE CDC’s dedication to supporting healthy families through quality housing. The decision to locate front doors and family townhomes at the street frontages was an intentional effort to connect families directly to the neighborhood and to build stronger community by creating an active public realm. By lining the street with porches, windows, a lobby, community room, and playground, the project aims to encourage its residents to participate and enrich the surrounding neighborhood.

An integrated design approach (eco-charrette) was conducted inclusive of all team members and stakeholders to determine which unique sustainable building practices would be selected to provide the greatest value to the occupants, owner, and public interests. This process included balancing the eight categories of the LEED for Homes program: Innovation in Design, Location & Linkages, Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality and Awareness & Education. Careful consideration was given to maximizing the comfort, durability, and efficiency of the project, as well as reducing future operating expenses.