March 17th, 2009 5:33 pm | by Adrienne So News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP

Cyan PDX: Perfect Blue-Green Buildings

Tags: Consumers
Having your own piece of land is the American Dream. But as the population continues to grow, living in a house begins to seem more and more ecologically irresponsible. Apartments are more energy-efficient and reduce urban sprawl. Can you make these concrete complexes more attractive and environmentally friendly?

That's the idea behind CYAN/PDX, a "green living" apartment complex at 333 SW Harrison Street. The project has inspired such enthusiasm that Ian Johnson, the president of Edge Design, has volunteered to divide his time between his home in Corvallis and the wee 464.75 square foot showroom at CYAN through May. I went down there to check on how he was doing and see if tiny living was all it was cracked up to be.

Big Bedroom

"I don't think it's about sacrifice," Johnson said, when I asked him if he missed his drum set, which is too large to fit in the apartment. "I think it's more about making smart adjustments to your lifestyle." I suspected it would not be hard to adjust to living in the showroom, with its mod design sensibility that combined an Asian minimalism with Scandinavian design features.

For example, the range is integrated with the counter top. Once it's cooled, it can be used as additional counter space.


The international influences were not a coincidence. As CYAN's development manager, Damin Tarlow, informed me, the design team traveled all over the world to collect ideas, from Japan to Amsterdam to Brazil. CYAN also maintains a blog and a Twitter feed (@cyanpdx) to keep in touch with their international collaborators.

The result is a series of beautifully livable spaces, with picture windows and honey-colored floors. In addition, Tarlow mentioned numerous livability projects, including hiring a personal trainer for the building and organizing games on the artificial turf in the courtyard. Prices range from a loft for $995 to a 3-bedroom for $2850, which seems steep by Portland standards. Hopefully you would be able to recoup that loss with lower utilities, and possibly by eliminating driving. CYAN sits next to the biggest public transportation nexus in Portland.

Big Apt

Johnson's and Tarlow's enthusiasm--and the beauty of the showroom--was such that I half-wanted to put my name on the waiting list myself. You can find more details on CYAN's sustainability and ongoing projects at their website here.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
comments powered by Disqus

Web Design for magazines