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FLEX

Show hide Project Info

Location

Portland, OR

Scale

19,000 sf

Program

Commercial

Completion

2017

The project is a 19,000 sf commercial building that is an exploration of the industrial building typology typically know as “Flex." Generally constructed as simple industrial structures with metal roll up doors and interior mezzanines, the design elevates this ubiquitous typology with mass timber structural elements and a distinctive angular building form. Its large 200’ x 95’ open floor plate is divisible into eight, 24’ structural bays, allowing the building to be partitioned for diverse tenants, from a restaurant to small maker spaces. Inside, the open, loft-like interior blends industrial character with architectural quality. The 80’ triangular clerestory, skylights, and glass garage-style doors bring daylight into the deep floor plates.

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Neighborhood Context

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Being a speculative development with a highly economical budget, the team was challenged to find design, materials, building technology solutions that would bring architectural presence to an everyday structure. Flex’s innovative and economical design solutions include:

  • Perimeter walls were prefabricated in a factory off site, allowing for greater quality and faster installation
  • Iconic building form realized using off the shelf or prefabricated materials and systems
  • 6’ structural cantilever along the building entry created from panelized glulam and plywood modules that were assembled on site
  • Spacing of glulam roof beams at 2’ on center eliminated the need for blocking
  • Precut glulam structure resulted in faster installation
  • Alignment of skylight proportions with structural spans eliminated blocking
  • Economical material palette of sheet metal, glulam columns and beams, plywood, glass, and concrete

Inventive and cost-effective building solutions, together with careful coordination of the trades, resulted in an everyday building with architectural presence. The Flex project demonstrates that with care and innovation it is possible to raise the architectural quality of ordinary building types throughout our cities.

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The wood ceiling is composed of 99 glulam beams of grade A plywood. The dense spacing of the structural members is an elegant solution that eliminates the need for blocking or additional supports.

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The 6' cantilever on the entry canopy was created with a modular glulam and plywood soffit module that was fabricated on site.

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Interiors have a warm industrial sensibility, making the building ideally suited to creative businesses. 85'-long clerestories, large windows on the perimeter walls, skylights, and a glass roll down gate bring daylight to the vast floor plate. 

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Alignment of skylights and windows on the mezzanine creates a controlled play of light across the space.

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Alignment of overhead skylights and mezzanine level windows. 

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The construction team at work on the concrete foundation. A 2' by 6' footing was required to anchor the project's shear walls. 

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Perimeter walls were assembled at a factory and brought to the site ready to install.

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Installation of the structure's precut glulam beams.

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The cantilevered entry soffit is made from a simple glulam and plywood module that was fabricated on site.

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Assembly of one of the cantilevered entry modules/ soffit panels. 

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Alignment of skylights and windows on the mezzanine creates a controlled play of light across the space.

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Alignment of overhead skylights and mezzanine level windows. 

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1/7

The construction team at work on the concrete foundation. A 2' by 6' footing was required to anchor the project's shear walls. 

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2/7

Perimeter walls were assembled at a factory and brought to the site ready to install.

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Neighborhood Context

The wood ceiling is composed of 99 glulam beams of grade A plywood. The dense spacing of the structural members is an elegant solution that eliminates the need for blocking or additional supports.

The 6' cantilever on the entry canopy was created with a modular glulam and plywood soffit module that was fabricated on site.

Interiors have a warm industrial sensibility, making the building ideally suited to creative businesses. 85'-long clerestories, large windows on the perimeter walls, skylights, and a glass roll down gate bring daylight to the vast floor plate.