Albina Yard is a new 16,000 sf speculative office building with ground floor retail located in North Portland. The building utilizes mass timber construction, with a glulam timber frame and Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) panels manufactured and prefabricated in Riddle, Oregon. The project’s primary goal was to utilize domestic CLT in a market-rate office building that would pave the way for broader market adoption of renewable mass timber construction technologies in Portland and the US. The design approach reflects a commitment to this sustainable technology by developing an architecture focused on economy and simplicity, material expression, and the careful resolution and integration of all M/E/P building systems to foreground the beauty of the exposed Douglas fir structural frame.
At the street level, the floor plan is organized around activating a small L-shaped infill site in a mixed residential/light industrial neighborhood. The side-loaded structural core connects the public entry to a day-lit CLT egress stair that opens onto a private south-facing courtyard. The retail space also connects to the street with a café/bar adjacent to the courtyard space. The upper floors have expansive views of Mt. Hood and downtown Portland, and are also divisible into four smaller units.
The dynamic form of the street-facing façade is a direct expression of the four-foot cantilevering capability of a four-inch thick three-ply CLT panel. Metal panels trim out the angled floor plates, framing four levels of a structural Douglas fir glulam wood window wall system. Viewed from an oblique perspective, the window frames resemble a wall of wood.
Two different structural systems were designed in parallel for pricing: one with standard tongue and groove wood decking and one with CLT. Working collaboratively with our engineers and fabricators, we optimized costs by simplifying our details and leveraging CLT’s superior two-way spanning capacity to utilize fewer glulam beams.
The wood columns and beams were prefabricated off site to 1/8-inch tolerances using a Hundegger K2-ROBOT six-axis joinery machine. The prefabrication allowed components to be assembled on site five times faster than a conventional wood decking system.
Albina Yard is built from wood harvested in the Northwest. D.R. Johnson, a timber manufacturer based in Riddle, Oregon, produced the project’s glulam timber frame and CLT panels. The prefabricated timber components arrived by truck, with the first 4,000 sf layer of CLT installed in less than four hours.