our process at Waterleaf is rooted in our core values 

We nurture a culture of creativity and collaboration. We strive to sustain balance in the environment and in our professional impacts. We come together to do good work with an understanding of the impacts of time on architecture, the environment, and community.

our expertise

Accessibility

We strive to create a barrier-free environment.

Sustainability

Driven by the individual passions of our staff, we weave sustainable measures and environmental best practices throughout all of our designs

Interiors

Waterleaf has worked with many organizations to update and develop flexible, dramatic, and diverse environments.

Adaptive Reuse

Each renovation project is seen by the design team as an opportunity to advance universal design principles, highlight shared project goals, and work together to provide buildings and spaces that improve the building's use.

Seismic Upgrade

Waterleaf fully understands not only the basic structural upgrades and unreinforced masonry, but the collateral effects on other systems, materials and finishes.

our story

Waterleaf can trace its roots in Portland to 1952 where we have worked to create innovative, elegant design solutions. We collaborate to solve problems at all scales- design problems and human problems. Our biggest lessons come from listening and being adaptable. That is how we approach design.

We collaborate with private building owners, non-profits, and public agencies on new mixed-use, renovations, and adaptive reuse projects throughout the Northwest, developing flexible, dramatic, and diverse environments. Our goal is to engage local community members in exploring sustainable design principles and practices, resulting in a built environment that expresses a profound respect for the environment and is attuned to our unique place.



our certifications & coalitions

We seek to meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability, and aspire to use the power of business as a force for good. Our employees’ passion for the environment and social good as well as awareness of our work’s impact reinforces the firm-wide commitment to sustainability and to the larger community.
u.s. green building council

Twenty-seven percent of the firm are LEED-accredited professionals and Waterleaf encourages those who are not to seek their accreditation and are willing to cover the cost of the exam. In-house LEED educational seminars are also offered regularly.

certified b corporation

Waterleaf was initially certified as a B Corporation in 2016 and renewed in 2018 by B Lab who administers the certification. We believe in providing service to our community by making sure spaces are accessible and providing solutions that are sustainable for our community and environment.

sustainability at work

Sustainability at Work Award In 2015 and 2018, Waterleaf was awarded Gold Certification by the City of Portland as a result of the Green Practices used in both the maintenance and design of the office.

zero energy ready oregon

We are a member of a coalition of organizations dedicated to lowering greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment. The goal of ZERO is to put all buildings in Oregon on the path to zero energy.