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Architects: Waechter Architecture
Location: Portland, US
Area: 888 m2
Year: 2022
Photography: Lara Swimmer

Mississippi: All-wood Sustainable Building

Designed and developed by Waechter Architecture, Mississippi is the result of over 10 years of planning and investigation. The building was conceived as both a proving ground for sustainable building systems and “all-wood” construction technologies and, equally, as a forum for new creative conversations.

Located on a prominent site in Portland’s vibrant Mississippi Avenue District, the 9,555-square-foot building strikes a balance between individuality and community, flexibility and permanence, offering a new model for sustainable and sensitive infill development.

A Single Material

Mississippi is the first commercial project in Oregon to use mass timber construction for all components of the building. Other than a ‘rain jacket’ of weathering steel on the exterior and radiant concrete flooring, all surfaces within the building are exposed wood – without the need for additional finishes or fireproofing. This approach creates a simplicity and wholeness that is absent in standard CLT or traditional frame projects and creates spaces with uncommon warmth, beauty and durability.

Waechter Architecture has received a USDA / US Forest Service Wood Innovations Program grant to study the building’s performance and to identify potential applications of its innovative approach in other commercial, institutional, and residential settings.

Six Rooms

With the principles of economy, constructibility and agility serving as key drivers, the organization of Mississippi creates distinct zones for programming and services. The building is comprised of six equal rooms, stacked in three tiers on each side of a shared courtyard. These clear span volumes are proportioned to accommodate a wide array of uses and may be outfitted for autonomous use, or as an ensemble with other spaces. At the heart of Mississippi, an open-air courtyard creates a semi-private internal space that acts as a transition and retreat from the busy street, and as a venue for events, presentations and informal gatherings.

Future-Forward Design

Designed for change and transformation, the building already accommodates an array of uses. A street-facing cafe (Capitola Coffee) at ground level opens onto the courtyard and serves as a shared amenity for the building’s occupants and the wider community. A maker space, bicycle parking and service area facing the alley are equipped to host workshops and support diverse forms of creative production. Offices and meeting spaces currently occupy the second floor, and one residence is located on the third floor.

Every decision – from the building’s organization to the selection of healthy and highly efficient materials and building systems, such as all-electric, refrigerant free, hydronic heating and cooling systems – embodies the principles of resilience and enduring design. The ultimate goal is to create a future-proof building that also possesses a strong sense of identity, grace and permanence.

Architects: Waechter Architecture
Location: Portland, US
Area: 888 m2
Year: 2022
Photography: Lara Swimmer

urbanNext (April 17, 2024) Mississippi: All-wood Sustainable Building. Retrieved from https://urbannext.net/mississippi/.
Mississippi: All-wood Sustainable Building.” urbanNext – April 17, 2024, https://urbannext.net/mississippi/
urbanNext June 5, 2023 Mississippi: All-wood Sustainable Building., viewed April 17, 2024,<https://urbannext.net/mississippi/>
urbanNext – Mississippi: All-wood Sustainable Building. [Internet]. [Accessed April 17, 2024]. Available from: https://urbannext.net/mississippi/
Mississippi: All-wood Sustainable Building.” urbanNext – Accessed April 17, 2024. https://urbannext.net/mississippi/
Mississippi: All-wood Sustainable Building.” urbanNext [Online]. Available: https://urbannext.net/mississippi/. [Accessed: April 17, 2024]

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