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Rose Villa - Award of Merit 2017

June 8th 2017

Rose Villa - Portland, OR
Submitted by: Myhre Group Architects and RLPS Architects


This garden community, originally opened in 1960, faced several challenges contributing to declining occupancy. Known for its lush landscaping and relaxed lifestyle, the campus consisted of linear, one-story garden apartments that no longer met consumer expectations. Navigating the steep 22-acre hillside site was challenging for existing residents and daunting for those considering the community.

The first phase of gradual replacement or exterior renovation of all 263 units (some of which had been converted to non-resident uses) introduced pocket neighborhoods organized around gardens stepping down the hillside. Each pocket neighborhood is composed of seven cottage homes overlooking an intimate courtyard. The result creates smaller, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods within the larger community, which capitalize on garden connections and outdoor views. The "over-under" cottages in each pocket neighborhood maximize site utilization while providing compact floor plans that are sized to be affordable, yet maintain open living spaces with views in multiple directions.

The pocket neighborhoods transition up to a new Main Street with resident amenities at street level and loft apartments on floors above. The loft apartments provide a residential option for consumers who prefer downtown living with interior connection to common spaces. Situated at the highest point of the site overlooking the Willamette River, Main Street provides a unique and appealing first impression of the campus, as well as reinforcing a sense of place within the larger community.

The Town Center is located directly off the main public road and provides a curb-free Main Street/Plaza that can be closed off to vehicles to provide a safe and accessible pedestrian environment for community events such as farmers markets and art fairs. Street-level amenities, open to the surrounding community, include the bistro grill, garden center, art studio, wellness center, and a performing arts venue. The inclusion of a lazy river and water slide in the wellness center, a rooftop wine bar, and the resident-operated garden center reflect the unique qualities of Rose Villa. With the completion of the first phase updates, Rose Villa revived its appealing, accessible garden setting, as the community was originally conceived.