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Construction Underway: PNCA ArtHouse

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Construction underway on ArtHouse, PNCA's new student residence hall.

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Architect’s rendering, Courtesy Lever Architecture / LRS Architects.

In just a few short months, PNCA’s new student residence hall, ArtHouse, will be filled with 150 excited, ambitious, forward-thinking art students. ArtHouse is a project in partnership with the Powell Family of Powell’s Books, and is slated to open in Fall 2013. The first floor of the 6-story ArtHouse, designed by Thomas Robinson of Lever Architecture, will house a café plus retail and gallery spaces. On the upper floors, there will be 60 apartments in studio, 2-bedroom, and 3-bedroom configurations to house 150 PNCA students. The close proximity of a new arts-centered apartment building to the College will make a walkable, sustainable urban campus, activating the entire spine of the North Park Blocks by bringing new residents and 24/7 life to the area while highlighting the arts as a unifying value of the community.

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ArtHouse is on the site of the former Powell’s Technical Books. Photo by Matthew Miller ’11.

Robinson spoke of the project on Portland Architecture, saying, “It’s at this pivotal point between the pearl, downtown and Old Town/Chinatown. We thought of it as a hinge, a gateway. It’s also part of Powell’s. It’s also part of the future of PNCA, expanding into the park blocks. We thought from an urban and from a cultural point of view, that was an exciting point of connection.”

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The former Powell’s Technical Books, mid-demolition.

Demolition of the former Powell’s Technical Books, built in 1916, began in early November 2012, and construction is moving forward at a galloping pace: Already, the former Powell’s Technical books has been reduced to a pile of rubble, the site cleared, and foundations drilled and poured. Every day, visible progress can be seen.

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Foundation drilled and poured.

ArtHouse was designed to take advantage of as much light as possible. The angled outer walls, combined with the specially designed ridged metal panels on the facade, will change in appearance throughout the day as the light changes. In this way, the new building, built to LEED Gold standards, echoes the way the older buildings and warehouses in the Pearl play with light and shadow. The building was also designed to bring light into the hallways and rooms at every level. Students living at ArtHouse will see natural light throughout the building.


Model of PNCA ArtHouse (image courtesy Lever Architecture), via Portland Architecture.

ArtHouse is the first physical sign of PNCA’s vision for an internationally charged Creative Corridor on the North Park Blocks. When the residence hall opens in Fall 2013, it will link PNCA’s partner institution, Museum of Contemporary Craft, with the future Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design.

Keep up with ArtHouse construction by driving or biking past the site on the corner of NW Couch St and NW Park Ave, or by checking in on the ArtHouse Facebook Page. You can read more about the project in the Oregonian, the Daily Journal of Commerce, and Portland Architecture.

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Architect’s rendering of ArtHouse, Courtesy Lever Architecture / LRS Architects.

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Scenes from life in the Pearl. Photos by Matthew Miller ’11.

— Posted on 01/07 at 12:31 PM

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