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South Waterfront Neighborhood in the Sky Chet Morgan - Final Thesis Booklet


There is an epidemic in the South Waterfront. That epidemic is the lack of life, sound and energy. For a place that was planned, designed and built to be in the forefront of urban living it is feeling more like 1984 rather than the rebirth of modern living. Granted the South Waterfront is still a relatively new place in regard to Portland it is still lacking a vibe that Portland has to offer. This difference is most easily seen by standing in Pioneer Courthouse Square and Elizabeth Cruthers Park. Both have similar aspects. They are surrounded b buildings and public transportation and are also seen as the center of the area that the are in. So why is one so drastically different than the other? I believe it has to do with the demographics of the household type. In the greater city of Portland Oregon Families with children make up about 35.3% of the entire population roughly (over 207,00 people), while the South Waterfront is 13% (which with the South Waterfront’s density is roughly 780 people). This needs to be fixed in order to not only help link the South Waterfront with Portland but to maintain and help the South Waterfront grow with the times. My solution would be design another high rise for the South Waterfront but have it be more than just an intimate grouping of apartments. I want to take the idea of the home and transform it into the High Rise experience. Taking all of the best qualities of the suburban experience and transporting them vertically. Also adding a community gathering area located at the pedestal so the community can gather and grow together.

Household Types Portland, Or Families w/ Children: 35.3% Families w/o Children: 15.1% Female w/ Children 9.5% Male w/ Children: 5.7% Male Lives Alone: 21.5% Female Lives Alone: 12.9%

25% 0%

75% 50% Families w/ Children: 13.0% Families w/o Children: 61.3% Female w/ Children 8.2% Male w/ Children: 4.2% Male Lives Alone: 3.8% Female Lives Alone: 9.6%

South Waterfront

Goals & Objectives: Goal: “Creating a more Vibrant South Waterfront through Community and Connection.” Objectives: - Create the “suburban experience” in a high rise city. - Help add diversity to the South Waterfront. - Create Community Spaces for not only the residents but the public as well. - Design a building that meets code and pushes standards further. - Contribute to the South Waterfront Skyline in a cohesive and unique way. - Maintain connection to the riverfront and Ross Island.

Surrounding Context:

Name: The Mirabella Height: 30 stories = 325 ft # of Units: 240 Purpose: Senior Housing Architect: Ankrom Moisan Other: LEED Platinum

Name: OHSU Center for Health & Healing Height: 16 stories = 192 ft Purpose: Medical Architect: GBD Other: LEED Platinum

Name: The John Ross Height: 31 stories = 325 ft # of Units: 303 Purpose: Condos Architect: TVA Other: LEED Gold

Name: The Riva Height: 22 stories = 264 ft # of Units: 314 Purpose: Apartments Architect: Ankrom Moisan Other: LEED Gold

Name: The Meriwether Height: 21 stories = 252 ft 24 stories = 288 ft # of Units: 245 Purpose: Apartments Architect: GBD Other: LEED Gold

Name: The Ardea Height: 30 stories = 325 ft # of Units: 323 Purpose: Condos/Apartments Architect: GBD Other: LEED Gold

Name: The Atwater Place Height: 22 stories = 264 ft # of Units: 212 Purpose: Condos/Townhouses Architect: THA & GBD Other: LEED Silver

The Site: Lot 23 is the perfect location for a cultural activator. It is a space where in it of itself is a place to see and be seen. Located right on the knuckle of the current South Waterfront Development this site will be a beacon for cultural gathering and growth.


Due to it’s close proximity to the Zidell property there is a great opportunity for historical connection, something that the South Waterfront in general lacks. Reusing old Zidell structures will help give the community a sense of place and personality. Another plus for this site is the unique opportunity of it’s connection to the Willamette River. Due to the Army Core of Engineers and federal law you are not allowed to build into the river. However with the already in place slip there is an opportunity for the South Waterfront Community to connect with the river in a way it hasn’t had a chance to yet. Placing a multi-family residential tower and community center at this location will afford great views and access that will have families wanting to visit, stay and live at.

Character Profile: Adults: Adults are what currently occupy most of the South Waterfront. Almost every class in the program can apply to any adult in the demographic but due to career and other obligations timing of the courses would be mostly on weekends or after the work day is over. Having adults in theses courses broadens their experiences and helps aid the passing of trade and craft.

Kids: Probably the most endangered creature in the South Waterfront many classes will cater to the creative youth and how they can be more involved in the cultural growth of the South Waterfront. Basically any class can cater towards them and would be only for their respective age groups.

Instructors: Attracting great teachers is a must for the success of the South Waterfront. Due to it’s “fresh out of the box” feel a more dynamic and creative group can give the south Waterfront the warm edges it needs. With their leadership in the various programs in the South Waterfront Community Center there can be a more vibrant tomorrow for the community.

Design Criteria: Each Scheme Will Incorporate the Following: - Connection to Gibb Street Axis - Use the Zidell Property (includes buildings and artifacts) - Emphasis on Local and Man made Views - Inhabitable Green Roofs - Harness Natural Local Resources for Energy Use - Restaurant

Program: Support:

Lobby: 1 @ 1,500 Sq Ft (a place to gather) Administrative Offices: 6 @ 120 Sq Ft Staff Meeting Room - 1 @350 Sq Ft (where the daily operations are completed) Underground Parking: 2-3 Floors (residential and guest) Restaurant: 1 @ 1500 Sq Ft (a place to meet and relax)

South Waterfront Community Center Programs Children's Art

Metal Studio Music Darkroom


Classrooms: 5 @ 600 Sq Ft Gallery: 1 @ 350 Sq Ft 1 @ 1,000 Sq Ft Dance Studio: 1 @ 500 Sq Ft Metal Studio: 1 @ 500 Sq Ft Darkroom: 1 @ X 100 Sq Ft Weaving Studio: 1 @ X 400 Sq Ft Workshop: 2 @ 500 Sq Ft Music Studio: 2 @ 300 Sq Ft


Theater: 1 @ 3,000 Sq Ft (place to watch) Banquet Hall: 1 @ 2,000 Sq Ft (place to gather for events)

Adult Visual Art Classroom Metal smithing Dance Studio Photography Weaving Studio Printmaking Auditorium


One Bedroom: 750* Two Bedroom: 950* Three Bedroom: 1,150* *Depending on Tower Shape




Playground/Park: 3,000 Sq Ft (place of play) Riverfront Amphitheater: 3,500 Sq Ft (place of performance and nature)

Program Support Spaces


Music Studio Theatre

Suburban to Urban Elements: The Yard:

The yard is a coveted item in the world of suburbia. It is a place where children can play, parents can grow and dogs can... run around. It is an area that is also often forgotten or thrown aside in the urban living world. However it is very essential to recreating the suburban in the urban. In order to achieve this feeling of space you must get creative. Emulating the feeling of stability, security and connection to nature 30 stories up is a tough concept to tackle. I believe the idea of a larger shared community yard can emulate the same feeling. This can be observed in Bosco Vericale to the right.

The Hearth:

When talking about the hearth most of our minds gravitate to the idea of a warm cozy place with a fireplace in the back. Most homes do have this exact concept idea but in multi family housing this can be hard to emulate. By looking at the key concepts that make a hearth what it is then you can create it in small spaces. In it’s bare bones the hearth is a place where someone can make a space their own rather than keeping to their bedroom. It is a place of gathering not just warm temperature but warm spirits. An example of this can be found in Price Tower to the right.

The Community:

Living in a suburban neighborhood is much more than what it sounds. It becomes living in a community that many people take pride in each day. Living next to your neighbors but not sharing a wall helps keep people separate but unified. Creating a multi-use family high rise that emulates neighborhood concepts is one of the more challenging aspects of this design. However I believe once you look back on the original concepts and values that define a neighborhood you can recreate and emulate through community connections.

Foreclosed: MOMA Exhibition

Photos of Context:

Final Works Neighborhoods In The Sky

Parti Diagram:

Tower Render:

History of the South Waterfront 1800’s

1 89 0 ’ s

Site Plan:

1 91 0

1 94 3

2 00 3


Tower in Context:

Structure Consists of two concrete shear cores staked on post tension concrete slabs. The column grid is on a 30’X30’ system and tapers to smaller dimensions as the tower climbs.

Podium Floor Plans:

Level - 1

Level - 2

Level - 3

Render of Tower

Neighborhood Units: One Bedroom: Varies from 500 - 600 sq Ft Designed for early families

Two Bedroom: Varies from 600 - 800 sq Ft Designed for smaller families who want a larger common areas.

Three Bedroom: Varies from 800 - 1,000 sq Ft Designed for long term Portland families




Tower Section & Park Detail




Render of Interior Park:



E a s t

Wall - Section

W e s t


Past Work

Tower Design Diagram

Podium Design Diagram

Neighborhood Module Level - 1

Units: - 2 X 3 Bedroom - 2 X 2 Bedroom - 2 X 1 Bedroom Common Outdoor Space

Level - 2

Level - 3

Units: - 4 X 1 Bedroom - 4 X Studio

Units: - 2 X 3 Bedroom - 2 X 2 Bedroom - 2 X 1 Bedroom

Green Strategies Podium


Water Collection & Bioswale


Intensive Gardens

Wind & Rain Harnessing

First Rendering of the Neighborhood in the Sky A More dynamic take on the Neighborhood Aperture

First Render of Neighborhood Common Space

Initial Design Schemes Scheme-1

Cantilevered gardens


Program Injected into building

Initial Design Schemes



In Conclusion: My final thesis presentation is a model of inspiration for tacking the suburban dream into the urban high density lifestyle. By connecting the resident to nature as much as possible I feel we can solve the dingy high density lifestyle. These past couple have months have been the most challenging, fun and thought provoking time I have had in my undergraduate career. I learned a lot about my own design approach and style and learned a lot about myself. I feel that I have come a long way as an architect and my work has never been better. I owe that to the faculty of the UO and the various professionals that I have met throughout my journey. This thesis project taught me many things that will stick with me for the rest of my life and I am happy to say that I am leaving the University of Oregon satisfied and I look forward to my career as a professional architect. I have come a long way from being a kid who just really enjoyed building things with Legos.

Thank You! Stay tuned for more Chet Morgan 253 N Broadway Portland, Or 97227 P: 858-472-6537 E:

Final Thesis booklet  

A booklet explaining my thesis presentation at the University of Oregon in Portland.

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