In 2007, the City of Portland invited architects from around the world to share ideas on the design possibilities of housing oriented to shared courtyards. Portland is promoting courtyard housing as an additional infill housing type that can provide a quality living environment at densities higher than conventional detached housing.

Catalogue of the project and the winning entries
A catalogue is available free-of-charge at 1900 SW Fourth Avenue, Portland, OR 97201, either from the Portland Planning Bureau in Suite 7100, or from the Development Services Center on the first floor.

Click here to download a PDF version of the catalogue (7.7MB)

About the competition
We invited entrants to suggest compelling solutions to several key challenges:

• How can courtyard housing be designed to serve as an attractive option for families with children?

• How can courtyards serve as useable outdoor space while also providing environmental sustainability benefits, act as a setting for community interaction while also respecting privacy needs, or serve as a pedestrian-oriented space while also accommodating cars? 

• How can courtyard housing avoid a purely inward focus and contribute to Portland’s tradition of street-oriented urbanism?

This competition is part of a multi-pronged effort by the City of Portland to retain families with children in the city’s neighborhoods in the face of increasingly unaffordable conventional detached housing. This competition will be a key opportunity to explore how courtyard housing may help fill the need for new housing for families with children, as well as provide desirable options for other types of households.

The City of Portland intends to facilitate the construction of winning designs by providing funding to adapt designs to building sites and encouraging developers to partner with winning designers in an anticipated design-build competition.

Competition Program Summary
The competition had two submission categories based on two types of infill site opportunities common in different parts of Portland:
1. Inner Portland Infill Site:  100' wide by 100' deep; Housing program:  4-10 units oriented to a shared courtyard with one parking space per unit.
2. Eastern Portland Infill Site:  95'-wide by 180' deep; Housing program:  7-17 units oriented to a shared courtyard with one parking space per unit.

The courtyards may be pedestrian-only or mixed pedestrian/vehicular courtyards. Additional details are available in the Competition Brief.

July 24, 2007: Competition Opened              

October 24, 2007: Submittals Due                 

November 14, 2007: Announcement of winning designs

Tuesday, January 29, 2008, 5 to 8pm
Awards Reception and Release of Competition Catalogue

Contact Information
For information on the competition, or if you have questions, please see send an email to bcunningham@ci.portland.or.us.

Competition Sponsor
City of Portland Bureau of Planning
Bill Cunningham, Project Manager

Competition Consultants and Administrators
Michael Fifield, AIA, AICP; Principal, Fifield Architecture + Urban Design; Professor of Architecture, University of Oregon
Mark L. Gillem, PhD, AIA, AICP; Principal, The Urban Collaborative LLC; Assistant Professor of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of Oregon

Read More
Click here to learn more about the competition objectives.
Click here to learn more about the competition background.