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PNCA and the Powell Family Collaborate on ArtHouse Student Housing on North Park Blocks

Release date: 04/19/12

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April 19, 2012

Becca Biggs, Director of Communications
Pacific Northwest College of Art, 971 255 5511

Anyeley Hallová, Partner
project^, 503 922 0056

PNCA and the Powell Family Collaborate on ArtHouse Student Housing on North Park Blocks

Portland, OR – April 19, 2012 – The Powell family in collaboration with the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) is set to build ArtHouse, a new student community on the Powell-owned property adjacent to the North Park Blocks in Portland, Oregon. Powell’s Bookstore is the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world. PNCA is a growing cultural and educational force located in the heart of Portland’s downtown Pearl District, with 10 undergraduate and five graduate programs. PNCA’s enrollment has doubled since 2004 to nearly 600 students and is expected to reach 1000 by 2018. The Powell family, PNCA, and project^, the developer, are currently working out the details of the arrangement for this dedicated student housing.

“With more than half of our students coming from outside of Oregon, housing is vital to the College’s continued growth and success,” said PNCA President Tom Manley “In this respect ArtHouse presents a wonderful opportunity for PNCA and its students. And by positioning a well-designed residence hall in close proximity to the College’s planned 511 NW Broadway Building and the Museum of Contemporary Craft, ArtHouse greatly strengthens the vision of an urban PNCA campus organized around the North Park Blocks.”

Located at the edge of the Pearl District, two blocks from the Portland Streetcar and the Green/Yellow Max Line, ArtHouse stands at a pivotal location forming a gateway to the Pearl District along Burnside, a beacon for PNCA, and will help connect the Pearl District to new developments in Old Town.

“Our family has loved our role as stewards, owners, and tenants of this unique and important location, and we have patiently studied alternatives for its next chapter. We believe the best solution is a new one—to deconstruct, reuse particularly special elements, and add value,” states Emily Powell, President and CEO of Powell’s Books. “The time has come for this building to have a new life and bring a renewed energy to the neighborhood.”

The 7-story, 55,000 square feet building, in the location of the former Powell’s Technical Books, will operate as art on different scales: from building as art, designed by Thomas Robinson, to spaces that showcase art, to places to make art. Light is the material and medium used to shape the form of the building, starting with a plan suffused with daylight at every level- including the internal circulation, the articulation of the façade, and an open and transparent experience along the streetscape. The building will target LEED Gold certification and will look for innovative ways to convey sustainability to its resident population.

According to Portland Mayor Sam Adams, “Art students are one of our City’s great attributes. The Powell family has brought forward a creative and inspiring response to housing that I expect will be a model for public-private collaboration. Perhaps most importantly, this step toward an urban campus for PNCA is very exciting and a key for our City’s cultural and economic development.”

The close proximity of a new arts-centered apartment building near the College provides not only a walkable, sustainable urban campus, but also revitalizes a currently underutilized site, activates the entire spine of the North Park Blocks, brings new residents and 24-7 life to this area, and highlights the arts as a unifying value of the community.

Project Details

• 33 NW Park Avenue, Portland, Oregon
• 7-story, 55,000 square foot building
• 3,500 square feet of retail (including café and gallery space)
• 60 apartments in studio, 2-bedroom, and 3-bedroom configurations
• Designed to house 144 students
• Targeting LEED Gold certification

Development Team
The development team is lead by project^, a values-driven real estate company that provides resources, practices and stewardship for its partners, maximizing the environmental, social, and economic benefits inherent in meaningful places. Project^ specializes in high-quality managed communities near university campuses.

Design Team
The design of the building is being led by LEVER Architecture’s Thomas Robinson who’s portfolio of work includes innovative arts-based spaces such as the San Francisco’s DeYoung Museum, Pixar in Emeryville, and work for Disney Animation Studios. LEVER has partnered with LRS Architects. As architect of record, LRS Architects with offices in Portland and Shanghai, China, contributes knowledge of the local jurisdiction and a strong portfolio of national and international projects that are sustainably designed.

About Pacific Northwest College of Art
PNCA prepares students for a life of creative practice and has been an influential force in art and design education in the Pacific Northwest since its founding in 1909. Today PNCA enrolls nearly 600 students in 15 undergraduate and graduate programs, and another 1,500 students through its continuing education programs. Since its founding in 1909, Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) has become a leader in innovative educational programs that connect students to a global perspective in the visual arts and design. PNCA prepares students for a life of creative practice, offering 10 Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees and five graduate degrees under the auspices of its Ford Institute for Visual Education (FIVE): an MFA in Visual Studies, a Low-Residency MFA in Visual Studies, an MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research, an MFA in Collaborative Design, and an MFA in Applied Craft and Design developed with the Oregon College of Art and Craft, the first inter-institutional degree of its kind in the US.

PNCA is actively involved in Portland’s cultural life through exhibitions and a vibrant public program of lectures and internationally recognized visiting artists, designers, and creative thinkers. Portland Monthly, in its January 2012 issue, called PNCA the “crown jewel of Portland’s creative class.” With the support of FIVE, the College has an operating partnership with the nationally acclaimed Museum of Contemporary Craft. For more information, visit

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