Midtown Place: How Smart Building Design Uplifts a Community


The Midtown Place in Redmond, Oregon, is an affordable multi-family housing complex that doesn’t look like your typical family housing. Thanks to a community-driven design team and motivated city planners, this 47-unit housing structure is bringing new life to downtown Redmond. We spoke with Ashley & Vance principal engineer Austin Davis and Pinnacle Architecture’s Shaun Clifford about how smart building designs can uplift a community.

Bringing Elegance to Affordable Housing

Unlike the typical affordable housing that can have a blocky hotel look, the Midtown Place features beautifully exposed structural elements including 28-foot columns supporting a 16-foot cantilevered roof, exposed hardware and steel guardrails, vaulted ceilings, mono-sloped roofs, and private patios with deck spaces beneath.

Adding a splash of color with various shades of blue brings life to the previously empty gravel lot. The corner deck is a showpiece seen from street level. And nearly every aspect of the design takes into consideration neighboring structures to ensure the design fits the area’s current aesthetic while adding a touch of modernity.

As project engineer Davis says, “Good designs like this can really impact the community. The architecture is beautiful and gives a feeling of elegance not always given to affordable housing, which has a positive impact on the community at large. Especially with projects such as these, we feel that it is our responsibility to allow beautiful designs to be constructed economically.”

Midtown Place housind in Redmond Oregon

Midtown Place is Earth Advantage Platinum Certified

Featuring one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, Midtown Place offers 47 units on the higher end of the affordable housing market. There are two community rooms, one downstairs and one upstairs; an elevator; and centralized laundry.

Centralized laundry, heating and other plumbing means there’s less piping and fewer exhaust ducts, which helps reduce design and construction costs. Running pipes down the core of the building through the interior corridor reduces overall heat loss. Four centralized tankless water heaters provide nearly instant hot water to all units, reducing the space and energy costs of installing individual water heaters per unit. Similarly, a centralized mini-split system controls general heating for fuel efficiency while individual rooms have smaller wall units for individual control.

Midtown Place in Redmond Oregon sidewalk

While some design elements may have higher upfront costs, these choices were made because of long-term energy savings. Designing for efficiency earned the Midtown Place Earth Advantage Platinum Certification and the building was nominated for the Central Oregon Association of Realtors award.

Additional examples of Midtown Place’s resilient design elements include:

  • Using fiber cement siding because it has a hearty lifespan and is easy to repaint
  • Exposed wood beams improve aesthetics and only need to be recoated every decade
  • Metal railings are durable in Central Oregon’s various weather elements
  • Large west-facing windows providing natural light are triple-pane for thermal capacity and block noise on 5th Street
  • Roof is solar-ready with electrical panels, structural load design, and flat roofs on nearly the entire building
  • All lighting is LED

“As architects, we’re creating spaces that have social, physical, and emotional impacts on people,” says architect Shaun Clifford. “When it comes to designing and building, we want a neighborhood–through the built environment–to be an experience that will enhance the community and inspire others to contribute positively as well.”

Midtown Place in Redmond Oregon front sign

Social Impact & Responsibility Toward Community

Developers, designers and engineers have a huge role to play in revitalizing communities not just for development’s sake but for the people who actually live there. Midtown Place was built on an empty lot, a previous eyesore in the middle of downtown Redmond. With commercial businesses on one side and residential on the other, Midtown Place strives to blend the two—a great example of how design teams can create coherence within an area.

Not only is this stunning architecture in the middle of downtown Redmond, it’s helping the community by bringing in affordable housing to people who are excited to live there. Ideally such positive community development inspires others to invest in beautiful, functional, and community-oriented spaces.