Flex Commercial Building | LEVER Architecture

Designed by LEVER Architecture, The project is a 19,000 sqft commercial building that is an exploration of the industrial building typology typically know as “Flex.” Generally constructed as simple industrial structures with metal roll-up doors and interior mezzanines, the design elevates this ubiquitous typology with mass timber structural elements and a distinctive angular building form. Its large 200’ x 95’ open floor plate is divisible into eight, 24’ structural bays, allowing the building to be partitioned for diverse tenants, from a restaurant to small maker spaces.

photography by © Jeremy Bittermann

Inside, the open, loft-like interior blends industrial character with architectural quality. The 80’ triangular clerestory, skylights, and glass garage-style doors bring daylight into the deep floor plates. Being a speculative development with a highly economical budget, the team was challenged to find design, materials, and building technology solutions that would bring architectural presence to an everyday structure.

photography by © Jeremy Bittermann

Flex’s innovative and economical design solutions include: Perimeter walls were prefabricated in a factory off-site, allowing for greater quality and faster installation; Iconic building form realized using off the shelf or prefabricated materials and systems; 6’ structural cantilever along the building entry created from panelized glulam and plywood modules that were assembled on site; Spacing of glulam roof beams at 2’ on center eliminated the need for blocking; Precut glulam structure resulted in faster installation; Alignment of skylight proportions with structural spans eliminated blocking; Economical material palette of sheet metal, glulam columns and beams, plywood, glass, and concrete.

photography by © Jeremy Bittermann

Inventive and cost-effective building solutions, together with careful coordination of the trades, resulted in an everyday building with architectural presence. The Flex project demonstrates that with care and innovation it is possible to raise the architectural quality of ordinary building types throughout our cities.

photography by © Jeremy Bittermann

Project Info:
Architects: LEVER Architecture
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States
Lead Architects: Thomas Robinson, George Michael Rusch, Sebastian Guivernau, Will Smith, Geoff Sosebee
Area: 19000.0 ft2
Project Year: 2017
Photographs: Jeremy Bittermann
Manufacturers: Sierra Pacific Windows, Vectorworks, Overhead Door, Skyline Sheet Metal
Project Name: Flex Commercial Building

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