Cathedral Village Affordable Apartments

    This beautiful property along the Willamette River will soon be home to Cathedral Village, a 110-unit affordable apartment building in Portland’s St. Johns neighborhood. Family-centric, 50% of the apartments will be two- and three-bedroom family units.



    The growing community of St. Johns is working towards creating a more robust downtown. By pulling the activity down to the waterfront, it blends residential, industrial, and commercial environments, creating a more pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. The currently industrial site commands views of the historic St. John’s bridge and is a block away from Cathedral Park, home of the annual Jazz festival.

    The new building holds tight to the street edge and cradles a southwest-facing courtyard, providing bridge and river views for all residents.

    Cathedral Village’s entry leads directly through the building to the community room and central courtyard. This transparent gap in the massing immediately pulls you through the space and connects you to the river and hillside beyond.


    Inspired by the railroad tracks that run along the western property line, Cathedral Village’s plan mimics the movement of a turning train car. Elongated horizontal train cars inspired the alternating bays that dance around the corner of the building along the major streetscapes.

    PNW train cars that inspired the design of Cathedral Village

    Designers resolved acoustic challenges of the nearby railroad tracks with a brick façade. The brick was installed economically in tall offset panels, rhythmically animating the façade with a nod to the neighborhood’s musical history. The rust-colored brick continuing to reflect the saturated colors of PNW train cars.

    The mix of brick and metal composite siding reflects the property’s industrial past as the area transitions to a more residential neighborhood.


    The client’s driving vision was to ensure that Cathedral Village interacts with its community. With art and music as a cornerstone of St. Johns’ culture, this was the avenue in which this vision came to life. Partnering with the local non-profit VIBE of Portland, Cathedral Village incorporates a music studio in the community space where an instructor will help kids record music. A large community room flanking the courtyard can host performances and provide a gathering space for residents.


    Awarded with the PGE Renewable Development Fund, Cathedral Village will receive a full solar array. Cathedral Village is pursuing Earth Advantage Gold Certification.