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SERA Architects' designs approved after changes



SERA ARCHITECTS - The design team made changes such as lightening up the bricks and adding more windows.At Northwest 10th Avenue and Davis Street — the half-block where Jimmy Mak’s jazz club is — there will soon be a 12-story apartment building.

By a vote of six to one, the city’s Design Commission approved the Modera Davis in early September when Sera Architects incorporated recommended design changes.

The approved plans include a half-block building backing up to Bearing Service Co. and Deschutes Brewery between 10th and 11th Avenues. The ground floor contains a lobby, a leasing office, three retail spaces and an extra micro-retail space. There will be 325 long-term bike parking spaces, two levels of underground car parking and landscaped terraces on the 12th floor, along with a fitness center, club room, conference room and dog patch.

The new look

At previous design hearings, city staff recommended changes to the expression of the lobby entrance, adding balconies on the west side and changing details of the garage door perforation.

“Not only did we tick the boxes of what you asked, we went further and made even larger revisions primarily to the exterior to make more strides to lighten the building,” said Kurt Schultz, principal with Sera Architects, at the design meeting.

SERA ARCHITECTS - The old rendering from early this summer shows the original, dark brick material.

“Comments were the brick color was too dark, making the building too heavy. It had a base that was sometimes two stories tall, other times one story tall, and you asked us to simplify the base to make it a one-story thing,” Schultz said. “We changed the brick color of the building back to a light buff brick, very similar to the buff-colored brick of the brewery next to that. We lightened the windows to very light grey, to lighten the building as it rises.”

The canopies widened all around the building, creating a pedestrian experience between the Modera Davis and the adjacent Deschutes Brewery and Bearing Service Co. Sera added 18 balconies to the west side, facing the brewery.

“We widened the lobby off the ground floor that’s centered on 10th Avenue,” Schultz said. “Then we also widened and changed the design of the entry canopy to really engage with the side of the lobby itself on the ground floor.”

He recessed the main entry into a porch to create more room, and simplified some fussy details such as a vertical slot that ran up the length of the building.

“Our lobby is wider, the canopy has more glass elegance, the entry porch is recessed further for the main entry of the building,” Schultz said. “We used to have a lot more fussier details. Now it’s one simple metal panel with perforations.”

The team added more windows, enlarged existing windows, lightened up the colors to light grey and off white, creating the effect of lightening the color of the whole building.

“We kept everything very simple and glassy in the upper floors,” Schultz said. “We widened the canopies so they are much lighter and airier than they were before.”

Sera also changed the base from a one- and two-story structure to a single-floor base that runs all the way around the building.

“We’ve reimagined the exterior to make sure we match the original diagram and also to lighten the building as it rises from what we had before,” Schultz said. “We appreciate the comments, we think it made a much stronger building and we’re happy with the changes.”

The commission

The Design Commission had only a few more questions before approving the designs, appreciating the changes.

“The changes are very positive, going to the light brick from the dark brick,” said commission chair David Wark. “The increase in the glass was a positive move, the tenants will certainly appreciate that. I think the canopies improved on the pedestrian zones, so I think there’s been significant progress here.”

“I agree with that response to Deschutes,” said commissioner Julie Livingston. “The terraces at the top level are great and certainly respond better to the guidelines, the increase in glazing is also a great revision, the added balconies at the west are an improvement and the deeper-recessed lobby, so I appreciate all the revisions.”

“I really like the lobby size, it makes it feel more purposeful on the street,” said commissioner Andrew Clarke. “Increasing the glass and lightening up the building was really my favorite approach.”

Commissioner Tad Savinar didn’t agree with the massing, voting not to approve the designs.

“It’s squeezing too much into this site,” Savinar said. “But I appreciate the changes.”

Ever attentive to detail, Wark brought up the micro retail door, noticing it was oriented toward one side. The commission approved the designs on the condition of centering the micro retail door.

Modera Davis

Where: 205 N.W. 10th Ave.

District: The Pearl

Owner: Mill Creek Residential Trust

Designer: SERA Architects


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