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De La Salle North Catholic High School

March 17, 2022 jill Blog


Place plays a pivotal role in shaping a school’s identity, its community presence, and its purpose.

De La Salle North Catholic High School, a private college preparatory school creating pathways for underserved students in Portland, Oregon, seized the opportunity to find a permanent home where it could reinforce its identity while also integrating into an established community in tune with its mission: “Enter to learn…Leave to serve.”

After working with De La Salle to evaluate more than 40 sites, Bora Architecture & Interiors found the St. Charles Parish in Northeast Portland to be an ideal design opportunity that would transform an underutilized, outdated space into a vibrant new campus.

The parish’s existing 30,000-square-foot K-8 parochial school wing, sitting dormant since its closure in the 1980s, was repurposed and renovated for today’s student trends with flexible classrooms, a visual arts center, and new science laboratories.

A 21,000-square-foot addition also features a learning commons and a larger-volume gymnasium anchoring the east end of the site—both spaces that can welcome public events.

The existing and new structures converge to create a central courtyard, which will serve as the heart of the 350-student campus, bolstering a sense of community for the school.

While its presence alongside the parish will foster a greater sense of community, the school features its own north entrance with an established “front door” off NE Killingsworth.

This allows it to remain a distinct entity as it forges a new presence and identity for De La Salle students, staff, and alumni in Portland’s growing Cully neighborhood.

“The attention to detail shown by the entire Bora team in working with each member of our community has culminated in an inspiring vision that truly reflects the needs of our current and future students,” said Oscar Leong, president.

Bora Architecture & Interiors is a 65-person, national design practice based in Portland, Oregon. With health, equity and sustainability essential to their pursuit of inspiring architecture, they are committed to creating transformative environments that shape communities and elevate the human experience,