Lofts in Space - Portland Project

Reprint courtesy of: CertainTeed Gypsum | 1-800-233-8990 |
Lofts Space
he demand for multi-family
housing has shot up in Portland,
Ore., over the past few years, driven
by a rapid growth in the city’s population. Hundreds of young professionals are flocking to developments
in Downtown Portland to be closer
to its nightlife and many shops, restaurants and micro-breweries.
In 2005, Seattle developer Unico
Properties observed a need for more
high-end apartment developments to
serve downtown, which was quickly
filling with condominium
developments. T he firm
bought a plot of brownfield
land on the north end of
Portland’s growing Pearl
District neighborhood—a
former industrial section of
the city—and made plans
for a mixed-use residential
and retail development,
built to stringent green
building specifications.
Unico Properties hired
renowned Seattle design
firm GGLO LLC, to draw
up plans for the development, which would eventually be named Asa Flats +
Lofts, after Portland’s founding father
Asa Lovejoy. The “industrial urban”
design called for a 16-level building,
with 20,000 square feet of mixed
retail space on the ground level and
the second and third levels containing structured parking for 200 vehicles. The fourth level is a transition
point, with 18 two-story loft units in
the building’s southwest corner and
an L-shaped tower in the building’s
northeast corner, which houses the
remaining 13 floors and 213 apartment units. The unoccupied space on
the fourth level is built out to create a
garden terrace, with landscaping and
public gardening space for residents.
Portland development aims for LEED Gold with
green components. By Amy Y. Lee
Following the guidelines of the U.S.
Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design program is vital for any new
construction project in Portland,
which is known for its environmentally friendly climate. The Asa
Flats + Lofts project is targeted for
LEED Gold certification—the second highest LEED certification level.
In its efforts to achieve LEED Gold,
GGLO included several green components in the development’s design,
such as energy-efficient mechanical
and electrical equipment; waterefficient fixtures; VOC-free paints;
use of local and regional materials,
whenever possible; natural daylighting; construction waste recycling;
and use of building products with
recycled content.
“Due to the environmentally conscious climate of the Pacific Northwest, sustainable building and design
practices are more commonplace
here,” says Sean Ludviksen, project
manager for GGLO on the Asa Flats +
Lofts project. “We want this structure
to stand as a strong example of this.”
Unico Properties hired Andersen
Construction Co. Inc., of Portland,
as general contractor for the project,
and broke ground in February 2007.
The Andersen Construction team
erected steel-stud framing, using various gauges
throughout the building.
The majority of the building
incorporated 16-gauge steelstud framing at the exterior
walls; however, the 18 lofts
were a different construction than the tower.
“We had 12-gauge steel
studs at the lofts that were
incorporated into a shear
wall assembly for seismic
restraint, a requirement in
our region,” says Jerrod
Kowalewski, interior project manager for Andersen
Construction. “The first
three levels were a combination of
steel studs and CMU back-up.”
I nterior walls throughout the
building were typically framed with
25-gauge steel studs.
The exterior wall assembly at the
tower is a rain screen for deterring the
intrusion of rainwater into the building envelope. Rain screen systems
shed the majority of rain and manage
the evacuation of the rest, preventing mold growth and decay inside
a building. The wall assembly consists of, from inside to out, 5/8-inch
CertainTeed ProRoc Type X Mois-
ture and Mold Resistant Gypsum
Board with M2Tech; steel-stud framing; 5/8-inch CertainTeed GlasRoc
Sheathing Type X with Embedded
Glass Reinforced Gypsum (EGRG)
technology; a weather-resistive barrier; R-10 extruded polystyrene (XPS)
rigid foam insulation; a 1-inch air
gap; and either brick or metal siding.
Studs were in place by May 2007,
and Performance Contracting Inc.,
an interior contracting company
based in Lenexa, Kan., with an
office in Portland, then installed the
sheathing. Since the sheathing was
available in 4-foot-by-9-foot panels,
the contractor was able to install the
sheathing vertically to accommodate
the building’s 9-foot ceiling heights.
This helped minimize job site waste
for the contractor.
“There probably would have been
20 to 25 percent more job site waste
if we didn’t have the 4-foot-by-9-foot
sheets,” says Brian Sherette, senior
project manager for Performance
Contracting. “It saved us time and
money, too, because we didn’t have
to remove excess waste, carry it
down on the hydraulic lifts, or pay
for additional waste disposal. It was
also easy to handle and install.”
“When cutting the GlasRoc Sheathing, we were able to score, snap and
back cut with typical drywall tools
instead of having to use skill saws
and hole saws,” Sherette says.
The sheathing provides long-term
protection from weather exposure,
important during the construction
phase of a building, with the help
of its EGRG technology. EGRG is
the combination of a paperless gypsum surface and reinforcing glass
mats that are fully embedded into
a water-resistant gypsum core. The
sheathing protected the building
from rain as insulation and brick
and metal cladding were installed
on the building.
After the sheathing was installed,
Performance Contracting moved
inside the building to install ProRoc
Gypsum Board on the interior walls.
ProRoc’s M2Tech technology gives
it moisture resistance and enhanced
protection against mold growth, utilizing a water-resistant core and a
moisture- and mold-resistant paper
facing. The product also offers
important fire resistance, and all of
the face and back paper used in ProRoc gypsum board is made from preand post-consumer recycled paper,
with 100-percent recycled content.
All of these features can contribute
to LEED credits.
The sheathing and drywall was
supplied by the Portland branch of
building products distributor GTS
Interior Supply Inc. Installation of
the products ran very smoothly, with
on-site technical support from CertainTeed Gypsum’s regional sales
representative Sean Langton.
Asa Flats + Lofts began welcoming residents in November 2008, and
the project completed in December.
The lofts are one half of Unico Properties’ Lovejoy Block development,
which also includes an adjacent
nine-story building, The Lovejoy,
designed by Portland’s LRS Architects and built by Andersen Construction. Also, targeted for LEED
Gold status, The Lovejoy opened at
the same time and features a twostory grocery store at the ground
level, four levels of parking and three
levels of office space. W&C
Amy Lee is manager of marketing communications, North America for CertainTeed
Gypsum, a subsidiary of Saint-Gobain.
She is a member of the company’s Sustainability Committee, and holds a B.S. in
Mechanical Engineering from University
of Florida and an M.B.A. from University
of Wisconsin. CertainTeed Gypsum is a
member of both the U.S. Green Building
Council and the Canadian Green Building
Council. She can be contacted at (813)
286-3932 or
Reprinted from Walls & Ceilings Architect,, Copyright January 2009