West Coast Winner

Framework: An Urban + Rural Ecology

Framework, an urban + rural ecology project, is anticipated to be the one of the first tall mass timber buildings in the U.S. Framework is a 12-story (130’) urban and rural ecological project in Portland, Oregon that will be constructed primarily of cross-laminated timber (CLT). It will support a distinct blend of functions including ground-floor retail, five floors of office space, five floors of affordable housing and a rooftop amenity space. When completed, the total building area will comprise 90,000 square feet.
The Competition grant will allow the project to engage in the exploratory phase, including the research and development necessary to utilize CLT and other next-generation wood products in tall buildings in the U.S.
This includes working with Portland and Oregon code authorities during the pre-permitting process to define and perform the necessary testing and peer review to demonstrate the feasibility of tall wood buildings. Fire and seismic testing will be completed by fall 2016. Integrating lessons learned from tall wood buildings in Canada and Europe, LEVER will incorporate new structural and architectural technologies that include a mass timber core and lateral force resisting system for seismic integrity.
Given its prominent location and public visibility, a key element of the building design led by Thomas Robinson, principal of LEVER Architecture, is to communicate at street level the project’s innovative use of wood and engineering technology in the development of a tall wood structure. From a community perspective, this building will support a unique blend of programming including an Albina Community Bank Branch, street level retail, office space for Beneficial State Bank, B Corp businesses and social enterprise; along with public space and
workforce housing in partnership with Home Forward.


  • Owner: The Framework Project, LLC
  • Land Owner: Beneficial State Bancorp
  • Development Team: project^
  • Architect: LEVER Architecture
  • Structural Engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers
  • Design-Assist + Build: StructureCraft
  • M/E/P: PAE Consulting Engineers
  • Affordable Housing/Investor: Home Forward
  • Fire and Timber Engineer: Arup
  • General Contractor: Walsh Construction


Project^ is a values-driven real estate developer providing resources, practices, and stewardship for our partners. We maximize environmental, social, and economic benefits inherent in meaningful places developing lasting high-quality projects through careful planning and execution. Community context is important, and design matters. Our goal is for every project^ development to be relevant today and far into the future.  Our work brings a broad and deep understanding of institutional-quality residential, retail, office, and academic spaces. Most importantly, our portfolio is a direct reflection of our standards – a focus on design, environmental systems, stewardship, and placemaking.

Thomas Cody, Managing Partner
Education: BS, University of Southern California, M. Urban Planning, Harvard University

Tom is the founder and managing partner of project^. As a real estate executive Tom has over 15 years of experience executing mixed-use, transit-oriented sustainable developments and is an industry leader in public/private partnerships. He has successfully developed 29 projects ranging from $3 million to $300 million, and he has completed over $400 million of mixed-use development within the last 10 years. His experience includes a broad range of product types including flex, industrial, office, retail, multi-family, student housing, academic facilities, and tall large-scale urban mixed-use projects. Some of Tom’s most notable projects have been ground-breaking urban redevelopment projects and public/private partnerships with colleges and universities and private non-profits.

Anyeley Hallova, Partner
Education: Bachelor of Environmental Systems Technology, Cornell University, Master in City Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Master of Landscape Architecture, Harvard University

Anyeley is a development professional with over 10 years of experience in a range of product types from mixed-use developments to large-scale urban master plans. Her core focus within project^ is shepherding mixed-use sustainable projects through entitlements with a specialization in market research, proforma analysis, project management, and leasing efforts for market rate and purpose-built student housing. Some of her recent projects include buildings that serve students of the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Oregon Health and Science University, and the Pacific Northwest College of Art.

  • Project^ Wood Experience
  • Courtside, Eugene, OR
  • Skybox, Eugene, OR
  • The Union, Corvallis, OR
  • The Emery, Portland, OR
  • K14, Eugene, OR
  • ArtHouse, Portland, OR
  • TreeHouse, Portland, OR
  • Hayashi, Portland, OR
  • BaseCamp, Bend, OR

LEVER Architecture
LEVER Architecture is a progressive Portland, Oregon-based practice dedicated to realizing transformative projects, strengthening communities and blurring the boundaries between public and private. We utilize a research-based approach to leverage our client’s goals and aspirations, creating designs that have been recognized locally and nationally as new models for housing, creative office, and retail mixed use.  LEVER’s work has been featured in Architectural Record, The New York Times, Monocle, Metropolis and regional publications. LEVER is also the recipient of multiple AIA design awards in Portland, the Northwest Regional Council, and Los Angeles.

Thomas Robinson, Principal-in Charge
Education: March with Distinction, Harvard University, BA Architecture, Univ. of California Berkeley

Thomas is the Principal and Founder of LEVER Architecture. He is a recognized design leader in the Northwest with a growing body of award winning local work in Portland that has received national attention. Two recent projects, ArtHouse and Union Way, are within four blocks of the Framework site. These projects have been featured in national publications based on their innovative urban and building strategies, and regionally sourced materials. Thomas previously led the development of new enclosure building systems at Herzog & de Meuron in Basel, Switzerland, including the design of the vertically post-tensioned 140’ tower for the New de Young Museum in San Francisco.

LEVER Architecture’s Wood Experience
From building multi-story wood-frame housing to pioneering the use of domestically produced cross laminated timber, LEVER is committed to connecting new architecture to regional timber resources and technologies in the Pacific Northwest. Designing projects that capitalize on the abundance of regional timber resources not only strengthens the cultural and economic ties between Oregon’s urban and rural communities, it also results in a richer and more sustainable built environment. The following projects represent LEVER’s experience with wood as a building material:

Albina Yards is 4-story mass timber office building in Portland, Oregon that will break ground in mid-August of 2015. The project contains the first use of domestically fabricated 10’ x 24’ cross laminated timber panels (CLT) produced by DR Johnson Co. in Riddle, Oregon.  LEVER worked with the State of Oregon and City of Portland Code authorities to permit the project using a streamlined process to promote the use of mass timber in the State.

Renton Winery and Tasting Room in Newberg, Oregon is being constructed with beams and wood products custom fabricated in southern Oregon. 81 wood beams will be custom fabricated for a canopy/truss roof structure.  In addition, the building will feature a wood glulam curtain wall system and exterior cedar siding rain screen. All systems are being fabricated in the Pacific Northwest.
The interior walls of Union Way, an urban retail passageway that has been featured in The New York Times among other publications, are clad with FSC certified Pacific Albus siding farm grown outside of Boardman, Oregon. Rough cut timbers were delivered from the forest directly to Lever’s fabricator in Portland for milling, finishing, and installation.

LEVER has also completed two large award winning multi-family wood framed structures: student housing for Pacific Northwest College of Art, a 45-unit, six story residence and campus housing for Oregon Health & Science University, a 71-unit, seven story apartment building.

Walsh Construction Co.
WALSH is a team of professionals who thrive on learning. We enjoy the exchange of ideas with one another and with our project partners. Founded in Portland, Oregon, in 1961, incorporated in 1974 and employee owned, WALSH has successfully worked throughout the Northwest. We are passionate about investing in the communities in which we live and build.

WALSH is a company of builders, building relationships, quality and value on every project. Walsh is a Northwest leader in the high-quality construction of housing, including mixed-use, affordable, senior and student; education projects; historic renovations; health care; and hospitality projects, which encompass broad construction types, including wood frame, concrete, and structural steel. WALSH has earned a solid reputation based on fair business practices, safety, teamwork and cooperative problem-solving. Our Seattle office opened in 1986, enabling us to better serve the needs of the Washington market.

Mike Steffen, General Manager, Principal-in-Charge
Education: M. Arch., University of California, Berkeley, B. Arch. University of Kansas

Mike joined Walsh Construction Co. in 1999 with over 14 years of experience working as a designer and project manager. In 2008, Mike was named Vice President and assumed the role of General Manager for the Oregon division. Mike will utilize his 30 years of experience in architecture and construction to help the team during preconstruction. Mike is a recognized industry expert in the design and construction of buildings for durability and energy efficiency. He has extensive knowledge about constructing large urban multifamily projects – many of them with mid-rise wood construction – and his experience as both architect and builder provide him with a unique perspective on both design and construction issues.

Walsh Construction Co. Wood Experience (sample)

  • University of Washington Lander Hall, Seattle, WA
  • Edna Holmes Hall, Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR
  • Cascade Hall, Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR
  • ArtHouse, Portland, OR
  • TreeHouse, Portland, OR
  • Gray’s Landing Apartments, Portland, OR
  • Ramona Apartments, Portland, OR
  • Beech Street Apartments, Portland, OR
  • Alder Hall, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • Poplar Hall, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • Rosa Parks Elementary School, Portland, OR
  • Sitka Apartments, Portland, OR
  • New Columbia Neighborhood Development, Portland, OR

Home Forward
Home Forward promotes, operates and develops affordable housing that engenders stability, self-sufficiency, self-respect and pride in its residents and represents a long-term community asset. As a public corporation with the ability to function like a private real estate developer, Home Forward develops affordable housing to serve low and very low income households on its own behalf and on behalf of several jurisdictional partners—Multnomah County and the cities of Gresham, Fairview, and Portland. The in-house development team consists of specialists in finance, design, and construction management with a range of development experience from urban infill to historic renovation to large-scale mixed-use neighborhood redevelopments. Home Forward is a community leader in its commitment to contracting with minority and women-owned firms and providing training and employment to those who have historically been under-represented in the construction trades.

Mike Andrews, Director of Development
Education: BA Urban Studies, Cleveland State University

Mike is Director of Development at Home Forward. He leads the effort to create new affordable housing in Multnomah County.  Mike guides Home Forward’s 85 Stories Initiative, a housing preservation project that changes the underlying subsidy of 10 existing high rise buildings from public housing to project-based rent assistance, which in turn allows Home Forward to leverage equity and debt to make a significant capital investment in each building. By improving the physical condition of the buildings, Home Forward will reduce operating costs, enhance the value of community assets and ensure affordable housing for future generations.

KPFF has 900+ employees working across the US and around the world. Their Portland office includes 155 employees, including seven partners, 66 structural engineers and 27 LEED Accredited Professionals. KPFF Portland has designed 120 high-rise residential and commercial buildings around the globe and is constantly involved with innovative materials, systems, and project types that include wood.  KPFF has in-depth experience with the Alternate Means & Methods Approval Process within the City of Portland. KPFF currently has a three-story CLT project under construction, for the Rocky Mountain Institute in Colorado. This project is using the Alternate Means & Methods section of the code. The Rocky Mountain Institute and the proposed project have similar goals and is a valuable case study in using the Alternate Means & Methods for the Framework project.

Blake Patsy, Managing Partner
Education: BS, Civil Engineering, Portland State University
Blake brings 20+ years of experience in high-end structural analysis and design. His in-depth understanding of differing construction techniques and analytical methods allows him to deliver innovative, cost-conscious structural systems. His work on the multiple, LEED Platinum residential towers of Portland’s South Waterfront District and the innovative structural solutions for the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver are representative of Blake’s creative design process.  Blake sits on the City of Portland Structural Advisory Board and is intimately familiar with the City’s approval process.

StructureCraft Builders
StructureCraft Builders is an engineer-led construction firm specializing in timber and hybrid-timber structures; they have been engineering and building efficient, signature structures for architects, owners, and general contractors of North America and Asia for 18 years. They are industry leaders in the “prefab revolution” – answering the pressing need for increased quality and construction efficiency, at the same time reducing site erection time and risk. StructureCraft is providing design-assist, structural engineering, 3D modelling, fabrication, and installation services for Framework.

Lucas Epp, Engineer
Lucas is a structural engineer with eight years of experience working in Canada, the UK, and New Zealand. After graduating from UBC, he spent several years working for StructureCraft, where he was responsible for modelling several large-scale timber projects including the 2010 Olympic Speed Skating Oval roof structure. Following a desire to explore abroad, he moved to London, UK for 5 years to work for Buro Happold. While there, he worked with some of the world's leading architects designing a range of projects including London's Olympic Stadium and a 300m (1000ft) tower in Kuwait. He then moved to New Zealand, working there on several seismically challenging projects for 2 years prior to returning to Canada.

Arup is a global multi-disciplinary engineering firm with over 90 networked and knowledge sharing offices operating in 35 countries. Arup offers a global understanding and consideration of the issues in wood design that are much broader than just efficient and economic structural design in isolation.  Stability, fire, dynamics, acoustics, efficiency, integration of building services and especially seismic performance must be assessed from the earliest stages of a project to ensure the unique requirements of the timber design are met. The objectives put forth in the US Tall Wood Building announcement and the associated development of various technical guides for the design and construction of Tall Wood Buildings makes it clear that the latest global advances in research and technical expertise will need to be brought to bear to ensure the resulting demonstration building exhibits a high level of performance and becomes the standard by which future tall wood buildings are constructed.  Arup is uniquely placed to deliver on these objectives.

Hans-Erik Blomgren, Engineer / Associate
Education: MS Structural Engineering, University of Minnesota, BS Physics, BA Mathematics, North Park University

Hans-Erik leads the structural group for Arup’s Seattle office. He is a native of the Pacific Northwest and has designed many significant and iconic structures in the region. Hans-Erik is recognized nationally for his contributions towards the transfer and development of timber technologies into North American markets. Hans-Erik is a team participant on the currently active NSF/NEES research grant that will test seismically resilient rocking mass timber systems.  As well in December 2014, he started serving as the engineering representative on the Dean’s Research Advisory Board at Oregon State University’s College of Forestry.

David Barber, Fire Engineer Consultant
Education: BS Physics, University of Canterbury, NZ, Bachelor of Civil Engineering, University of Canterbury, NZ Master of Civil Engineering (Fire Engineering), University of Canterbury, NZ

David is a Principal with Arup, where he works as a fire protection engineer. David has considerable experience with performance based fire safety design and its application to the built environment, having completed numerous projects internationally including high-rise towers, road and rail infrastructure, retail centers, convention halls and hospitals.

David has been involved with research and design of timber structures for fire for over 20 years, assisting with testing and development into new timber technologies, authoring fire safety design guides for construction and completing fire safety design for low and mid-rise timber buildings. David was Arup’s lead author for the recently released NFPA Fire Protection Research Report titled “Fire Safety Challenges of Tall Wood Buildings”.

Frances Yang, Engineer/Sustainability Consultant
Education: MEng, Civil Eng., Structural Eng. and Mechanics of Materials, University of CA, Berkeley BS, Civil Eng., University of CA, Los Angeles

Frances has over 10 years of experience in structural engineering design and materials assessment. Amassing skills in life-cycle assessment, architecture for the environment, and toxicology, she now solely represents the sustainable materials practice in the Americas region of Arup. Frances continually educates herself and others through external professional involvement, including chairing the LCA working group of the SEI sustainability committee, progressing goals of the Carbon Leadership Forum, deliberating on the USGBC Materials and Resources Technical Advisory Group, and speaking at Greenbuild. She has amassed broad knowledge in green building design, with specific awareness of sustainable structural engineering strategies.

Select Topics: 
Tall Wood