PNCA Press Center

ArtHouse, First PNCA Student Residence Hall, to Open on North Park Blocks

Release date: 08/26/13

For Release On

August 26, 2013


Lisa Radon, Communications Specialist 971.255.5528

Becca Biggs, Director of Communications 503.821.8892

ArtHouse, First PNCA Student Residence Hall, to Open on North Park Blocks
Collaboration between project^, the Powell Family, and PNCA will bring 130 students to the North Park Blocks

PORTLAND, OR – August 26, 2013 – Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA), project^, and the Powell family are pleased to announce the opening of ArtHouse, a striking new student residence for PNCA students, just in time for the arrival of the beginning of the 2013-14 academic year. This six-story building designed by Thomas Robinson of LEVER Architecture and located at 33 NW Park Avenue will bring 130 students to Portland’s North Park Blocks and the surrounding Pearl District. ArtHouse stands just across the PNCA’s Museum of Contemporary Craft on the North Park blocks. The residence is the first ground up project built specifically to house PNCA students on the North Park Blocks and will be the counter anchor to PNCA’s main building, the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design at 511 NW Broadway, now a former post office slated for renovation with completion expected in 2015. PNCA’s urban campus is expected to jumpstart additional economic development and vitality along the North Park Blocks and the adjacent Old Town district. With its fall opening, ArtHouse will stand testament to PNCA’s continued growth and appeal to a widening range of students. More than 60% of the college’s students come from outside Oregon.

“We are happy to welcome students to this wonderful residence just blocks from the future Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design. It’s another step toward realizing our campus master plan for a walkable, centrally located PNCA campus in the heart of Portland’s culturally rich Pearl District,” says Tom Manley, PNCA President. “PNCA is grateful to the Powell family for their cultural and neighborhood stewardship.”

The idea of a student community on the North Park Blocks was initiated by Tom Cody of project^, a real estate development firm that has previously developed student communities at University of Oregon. Cody approached PNCA with the idea for ArtHouse and, with concepts from LEVER Architecture, identified the former Powell’s Technical Books as the site and the Powell family as the partner.

“For us development is a public pursuit, where the projects are made relevant by partnerships with people like PNCA and the Powell family. Through the partnership a public and civic good emerges,” says Cody. “ArtHouse helped solve a critical market dysfunction, lack of student housing, while ensuring the long term cultural and environmental stewardship of an underused downtown property. ArtHouse will catalyze the transformation of the North Park Blocks as a vibrant community and cultural destination.”

The first floor of the six-story ArtHouse will house an arts focused café and a retail space as well as a spacious lobby/gallery and community space for students that extends from the Park Blocks to a rain garden and patio in the building’s interior courtyard. On the upper floors, natural light is pulled into the building through cutaways at the end of each corridor and expansive operable windows in the 50 studio, 2-bedroom, and 3-bedroom apartments that will house approximately 130 PNCA students. The building is slated for LEED Silver certification. LEVER designed into ArtHouse a generous amount of bike parking and custom-designed furniture made from wood salvaged from the site’s previous building.

“The design of ArtHouse is about connection, access to light and views that blur the boundaries between inside and out and link the life of the building to PNCA’s new presence on the Park Blocks,” says Thomas Robinson, Principal at LEVER Architecture. “From the gallery-like common spaces to the interior garden court, we wanted to create spaces and experiences that encourage interaction. The play of light across the subtly shifting façade changes the materiality of the building in surprising ways that reflect the dynamic character of the artistic community that will call ArtHouse home.”

PNCA is in the midst of its boldest venture yet: a $15 million campaign to transform not just a college, but a city by establishing the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design as an anchor for the College’s vision of a new campus home on Portland’s North Park Blocks, thanks to a lead gift from the Harold and Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation of $5 million to name the historic former post office at 511 NW Broadway.

Development Team
The development team is lead by project^, a values-driven property developer and investor 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 for the Princeton University Art Museum 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
As Oregon’s flagship college of art and design since 1909, Pacific Northwest College of Art has helped shape Oregon’s visual arts landscape for more than a century. PNCA students study with award-winning faculty in small classes. In the last seven years, PNCA has doubled both the student body and full-time faculty, quadrupled its endowment, and added innovative undergraduate and graduate programs. PNCA is now embarking on its boldest venture yet by establishing the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design as an anchor for the College’s vision of a new campus home on Portland’s North Park Blocks. Focusing on the transformative power of creativity, the capital campaign, Creativity Works Here, was launched in June 2012 with a lead gift from The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation of $5 million. PNCA’s new home will be a bustling hub for creativity and entrepreneurship, reflecting the influential role of art and design in our 21st century economy – both in Portland and beyond. For more information:

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