Commonwealth Collaborative

interior architecture studio | fall 2020 | instructor: linda zimmer, ph.d | team: vayle khalaf, katherine marple | site: portland, oregon

At the overall building scale, we imagine neighborhoods, layers of placemaking components that work together to create a building wide sense of community In a post-COVID world, our society will be changed, the need to work in office will be reduced, and the desire for work integrated with life will increase.

This proposal seeks to provide inhabitants with a place to live, work, and socialize while building a network of community with those around them.


While we have only developed portions of the building, the story of neighborhoods would not be complete without services connected to the city which support social and economic stability.


The ground floor, what we call the Festival, is based around the concept of awakening a neighborhood consciousness. It could contain short term rental spaces, Service space, Clothing and material resale store, Makerspace, Business startup support advocates, financial advisors, or lawyers. 


The second level, the Nurture Center, is focused on developmental health. It could house Childhood development services, a Place for students to study or homeschool spaceor mental health and counseling services. 



The 3rd and 4th level could be typical rented business space, preserved for the business tenants who currently occupy the building



Floors 5-12, the focus of this project, have been imagined as a combination of live work scenarios in response to the 3 identified user groups.


The development of these live work scenarios was guided by core values of sustainability: social, economic, and environmental. For each decision made, we asked questions such as: how can this encourage a sense of ownership? is it safe? can it be affordable or adaptable? Does it foster community 

Beyond spatial organization decisions, our materials are guided by these values as well. Each material aims to be sourced locally or recycled, to be a simple framework for tenant expression.

These guidelines resulted in the desire to create a neighborhood consciousness as much as creating successful live/workspaces. 


The sense of home is expressed throughout the building as a front porch: a distinguished zone of transition between layers of space types. This happens at the front of residential units, at the workspaces, or as one exits the elevator lobby. In addition to expressing transition as place, this project seeks to foster diverse scenarios of community engagement and work collaboration.


We are deeply concerned with awakening a collective consciousness and creating an equitable and inclusive space for diverse users. Our neighborhood collective is rooted in the values of placemaking, fostering a diverse and healthy community, and providing access to artistic, social and economic support.


This is a live/work model that preserves autonomy, dignity, and quality. It also acts as a catalyst to redefine and reshape the way we currently live and work in hopes of boosting social, environmental, and economic health.