Blog Education Feature: Unique Affordable Housing Project Opens in Kenton

Feature: Unique Affordable Housing Project Opens in Kenton

By Marisa Swenson, August 31, 2020

I am a big fan of modern architecture and I love to see projects take shape in our city that are beautifully designed and also serve the greater community.  In April 2020, Kenton welcomed Portland’s newest LISAH project, Argyle Gardens.

What is L.I.S.A.H.? 

LISAH— or Low Income Single Adult Housing (LISAH), is a co-modular housing concept coined by Holst Architecture. It’s a modular construction concept designed to be configured easily for many uses, and resident demographics, making it a versatile option for development around town. Its low cost makes it an ideal method for housing the formerly homeless, workforce, students, retirees, and even intergenerational families. It aims to drive down both the construction and operating costs of deeply affordable housing by refreshing the single room occupancy (SRO) approach to housing single adults with very low incomes. 

Argyle Gardens

Argyle Gardens boasts a strategic location—close to the MAX, bus lines, a public park, and commercial shopping areas. The largest building houses thirty-six 220 square foot studio apartment units, while the other three builds have two six-bedroom units, making Argyle Gardens home to 72 occupants. A large community room, laundry facilities, and support service offices serve as a central hub and shared gathering space for all residents. The location was originally topographically steep and had existing vegetation, providing privacy but challenging the design team. Despite the challenges, they achieved creating a space that takes careful consideration of ADA access requirements, environmentally friendly building practices and material, and the maintenance of the large staging area required for modular construction of each phase.

Holst is an award-winning, women-owned architecture firm committed to creating architecture that is in harmony with nature while respecting and responding to its context. For over 27 years, they have been creating innovative buildings tailored to each client’s needs while also expressing the highest environmental, social, and aesthetic ideals. Argyle Gardens was built with Transition Projects—A Portland organization delivering life-saving and life-changing assistance to some of Portland’s most vulnerable residents. Walsh Construction and development consultant Housing Development Center were key team players, along with the Kenton community at large. The hope for Argyle Gardens is that it will prove to help Kenton alleviate issues related to homelessness in the area in an innovative and holistic way.

According to Transition Projects, Argyle Gardens has already achieved the remarkable –  rents lower than $300, allowing low-income folks and individuals transitioning out of homelessness to live in quality housing that they can actually afford. It’ll be exciting to see the long-term impact of LISAH type construction around the city. I hope for the most from this innovative solution to serving the cities homeless, and all other populations in need.

Marisa Swenson – Specializing in Modern Home Sales

Marisa Swenson

Broker Licensed in OR & WA

Marisa is a Portland native, born and raised in the heart of the Hollywood district, she possesses a wealth of knowledge about the Portland Metro area. Over the past decade, Marisa has sought out the best in local mid-century and contemporary modern architecture and design around the city. Her website Modern Homes Portland is a labor of love where she shares her enjoyment of all things modern including a curated list of modern homes for sale in the Portland area. In her past, Marisa worked with a company that provided home contractor services. She worked closely with contractors identifying, evaluating and correcting common maintenance issues in homes and commercial buildings. Pairing this experience with many years of client service and a love of homes made the transition to becoming a REALTOR® seamless. She is a member of the Architectural Heritage Center, Doccomomo's Oregon Chapter, Restore Oregon where she also sponsors their Mid-Century Modern tour each year.  Working with these organizations, she hopes to help preserve buildings from the modernist movement mid century and beyond, and to help spread awareness of their importance. She currently lives in the suburbs of Portland with her family and is working on restoring her Northwest Regional Style custom-built 1960's time capsule home that will be added to the historic registry in 2017.When she’s not working with clients or scouring the city for hidden architectural gems, Marisa likes to spend time with her family, play soccer, hike in the beautiful Pacific NW forests, visit new restaurants and coffee shops.
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