Over the last 15 years, downtown Camas, WA has recreated itself into a vibrant and pedestrian-friendly environment with locally owned shops, businesses, restaurants, microbreweries, and a historic 1927 movie theater. This revival has spawned new real estate developments, like the Camas Mixed-Use, which has a restaurant and a café space at the street level and two levels of loft-type residences above.
The developer wanted to capture the small town, urban character of downtown Camas by incorporating size, scale and details from the distinctive historic buildings nearby—but with a modern touch. The design solution incorporated the scale of nearby two-story brick commercial buildings, while adding an aesthetically distinct third floor. The third floor is formally setback from the front facade to further differentiate itself. This remodel concept of bifurcating an existing historic section from the new modern addition allowed us to design a much larger building than the historic buildings nearby while maintaining the downtown area’s character.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of the property is its location. The property’s lower end faces the commercial core, while the upper end faces residential neighborhoods. The challenging aspect of the property is its 24-foot elevation change. We addressed both the grade change and the differing neighborhoods by separating the commercial and residential entrances and usage. The restaurant and café entries are located on the lower, commercial side of the property and the residences are located on the upper, residential side of the property. Both entrances are therefore at ground level, alleviating the need for elevator service—which was a goal of the client’s.
To create user excitement and enhance the urban character of downtown Camas, the building was set back to accommodate street-side dinning. Overhead garage doors and large awning provide for open indoor / outdoor dinning experience. The 9.5-foot awnings are engineered to support not only their extra long cantilever but also heaters and seasonal hanging flower baskets.