Since January I’ve been working half-time as the Living Building Challenge Assistant for the Breathe Building. My role is to ensure that the project complies with the Living Building Challenge, which is the world’s most rigorous green building standard. We are going for Petal Certification for Equity, Beauty, and Materials, so most of my time is dedicated to researching and tracking every product considered for inclusion in the project. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to apply everything I’ve learned through my Sustainable Design-Build Certification, my Sustainable Building Adviser Certification, my Masters of Urban and Regional Planning, my Urban Design Certificate, and the work I did in the Ford District last spring. Since most of my construction experience has been in the residential sector (including Habitat for Humanity, St. Bernard Project, and a collection of tiny houses on wheels) I’ve really enjoyed the chance to learn more about commercial building. I’ve especially enjoyed being part of this project because there’s a wonderful team of people working on it and the Breathe Building will have great impact in my very own neighborhood.
The Breathe Building, located on SE 50th Avenue just north of Division Street in Portland, OR, is Portland's first commercial Living Building Challenge project. The facility is the future home of Yoga Union Community Wellness Center and Fern Kitchen. It will be a center for mindful movement, wellness, sustainability education, social gathering, and community-wide conversation. The facility includes two yoga, movement, and event spaces, as well as a wellness center, café, kids gym, sauna, gathering space, courtyard, and rooftop garden. The Breathe Building is dedicated to creating a unique community center where the health of the building mirrors the health of its occupants.
Yesterday we celebrated Earth Day with a groundbreaking celebration for the Breathe Building, which drew a crowd of more than 100 people. Although the project officially began excavation in March, Earth Day was an auspicious day to recognize the start of construction on this exciting project because the Breathe Building is committed to environmental sustainability. We celebrated with lunch from Thrive, tasty cupcakes and cake, and lots of mixing, mingling, high-fives, and hugs. There were brief remarks from the Chris Calarco (the building owner), Todd Vogt (co-owner of Yoga Union), Jay Kosa (the Communication and Community Coordinator for the Living Future Institute), and Alex Boetzel (the Breathe Building Project Manager from Green Hammer) before Annie Adamson (co-owner of Yoga Union) lead us in a dedication and intention-setting for the Breathe Building.
It was great to see so many different people here to root for this project. The Yoga Union community was present en masse because we are excited about our new facility. The Green Hammer team was there to celebrate the groundbreaking for one of their largest projects to date. Subcontractors, suppliers, and manufacturers also showed their support for this pioneering green building project. Follow along as we build the world’s healthiest wellness center!