Portland Backyard Retreat

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This little structure, nearly 200 square feet of enclosed space, offers respite from daily life. Its simplicity is meant to engage the senses while providing shelter for contemplation.

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Indoor-outdoor space, with glass walls that open wide, and wrap-around views. The roof continues over the veranda, providing shelter in the rain.

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Light comes in on three sides, including generous north-facing studio windows. Northern light is generally even and cool, which may be just the thing every now and then.

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The space is simple and open. A wall-mounted cabinet captures the clutter, freeing the floor for whatever. These renderings show the space as it might be used to listen to music. It could also make a great studio for painting, yoga or meditation.

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The view out is expansive. However, the side facing the main house is kept free of openings. This reinforces the removal from daily life, furthering the feeling of getting away for a while.

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From the outside, the retreat is simple and rustic. Its dark, rustic wood siding will deepen with age, becoming part of the surrounding landscape.

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The north-facing entry is modest, with a sense of departure as one steps from a grounded stone stoop to its entry bridge.

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The floor plan is very simple and flexible.

If this design stimulates your ideas about your own retreat, I’d be delighted to talk with you about it.

I designed the project, and created all the drawings and renderings in this post.

Portland Phased House

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This project is designed to make new home construction affordable for more families. It eliminates the need for owning two properties at the same time, or expensive temporary housing, and allows the homeowner to proceed with construction when it fits their budget.

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Phase One of the project starts as soon as the family has closed on their new property. They move into the existing house on the site, and proceed with the demolition of the existing detached garage. In its place, a new garage is built. This garage includes an Additional Dwelling Unit (ADU), located to the side of, and above, the garage.

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The ADU is built to the maximum size allowed by Portland’s ADU program, and can be rented out for additional income when the main house is finished. While the ADU is a one bedroom unit, additional space in garage can be utilized by the family while their new home is under construction.

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The ADU has a generous entrance and stairway, with its bedroom and bathroom on the first floor, and open living space on the second floor.

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With the living space on the upper level, views and light are enhanced. The living space opens out to a roof garden.

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The ADU is treated with similar architectural features as the main house. This maximizes the family’s enjoyment of their  temporary home, and allows a higher rental price down the road.

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The main views from the ADU are oriented away from the future house.

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In Phase Two, the existing house is demolished, and the new house is built. As can be seen above, the two buildings form a cohesive whole. A large, south-facing courtyard is defined, and indoor-outdoor living is developed.

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The street facade captures the entire buildable width of the lot. While the house is a simple rectangular volume, varying levels of openness and enclosure interact with light and shade, developing a lively engagement with the neighborhood.

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The entrance from the street is brought to life with light, shadows, reflections and transparency.

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The living and dining room are animated with light filtered through trees.

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The living room is open to the east and west, with ample light throughout the day. The home’s terrace is seen on the right.

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While somewhat open to living and dining, the kitchen is a clearly defined space. It opens onto the terrace, and has a western view of the back yard as well.

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The stair to the second floor is enlivened with a generous skylight, and open construction.

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From the second floor master suite, the upper part of the stair is glimpsed, along with a view of the roof garden.

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Indoor-outdoor living in the master suite. Should the owner desire, the roof garden space could easily be converted to a third bedroom.

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The home’s grand exterior space, defined by the house(right) and its garage/ADU (left).

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Focus on the terrace, with dappled light and filtered views. A generous glass covered walkway shelters access from the garage to the kitchen, and creates an outdoor space that can be enjoyed in the rain.

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An overhead view clarifies the overall composition of architectural elements.

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The north face of the home’s two parts.

Site Plan

The site and floor plans above show the house in its finished state. The main house is 1,600 square feet, with two bedrooms; and the ADU is 790 square feet with one bedroom.

This house is designed for a typical Portland east-side lot – 50′ x 100′, relatively flat, and with an existing house and detached garage. Its principles can be applied to other lot types as well.

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When designing this house, I was inspired by the idea of helping architecture lovers of moderate means achieve their dream of building their own house. I’m looking forward to getting to know your particular dream.

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I created all the designs, drawings and renderings for this post.

Southwest Hills House

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The challenges of building in Portland’s Southwest Hills can be great. Steep drops from the street call for creative solutions, and can lead to spectacular results. This four-bedroom, 3,300 square foot house is designed to maximize its inhabitants’ enjoyment of their hillside, while minimizing construction costs.

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I’ve designed this house to address its sloping site in two ways: Concentrate the living spaces into a three-story tower with a compact footprint, and bridge to the street with an entrance deck, garage and driveway.

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Given the vertical orientation of this house, stairs play an important role in its use and enjoyment. This stair, which connects three and a half levels, is located in a glassy bay. Scaling the stair brings dynamic views of inside and outside.

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The main living space is located on the house’s top floor. I’ve capitalized on the freedom afforded by this “up top” location to explore terraced floor levels and varied roof forms. The space is open, and centered on a massive chimney.

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The south facing elevation shows the glassy enclosure of the living areas. In addition to the living, dining and kitchen areas of the third floor, the southwest corner of the second floor has an intimate family room. Both the living and family rooms have outdoor terraces.

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The floor plans show this home’s compact nature. Third floor living spaces cap a family room and the master suite on the second floor. And the first floor is filled with bedrooms at ground level.

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The second floor family room offers a cozy retreat, and has ample connection to the outdoors.

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This axonometric view gives a good idea of the house’s overall organization, especially the staggered terraces of the living and family rooms. It also shows the large skylight located above the fireplace, and the entrance bridge.

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This view of the main living space shows its terraced floor levels and soaring ceilings. Views and light wrap around the space, and light from the sky washes the fireplace’s brick.

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Set five steps above the living and dining level, the kitchen has commanding views. Yet it remains a subtle presence in the living space.

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The kitchen is designed to be practical and enjoyable. It’s located steps from the garage, has ample counter and storage space, and dramatic views in all directions. The sink area is located in a bay that projects outward from the house, surrounded by views and light.

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Looking back toward the living spaces from the kitchen give a good feeling for the sweeping living space of this home.

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A slight turn to the west shows the connection of the kitchen to the entrance level. You can also see the fireplace chimney’s second skylight, illuminating the home’s highest level.

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The view from the southwest gives a good idea of how the home’s terraced living levels interact with site’s steep slope.

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Inside, the ever-changing sweep of light animates the space.

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The design of this house is rooted in classical systems of order, energized by asymmetric elements.

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The house’s romantic massing is especially clear from its sides, where the disjointed roof forms interact with the projecting bays of the stairs and kitchen.

I designed this house as a speculative study on a non-specific site. I created all drawings and renderings. I’m excited to see how we could work together to make a home like this on your own hillside.

Mount Tabor Houses

These two houses, located on the north face of Portland’s Mount Tabor, are designed to capitalize on their sites’ dramatic slope. The houses are located on individual, adjacent lots, where there are currently no existing structures. Each house is 2,460  square feet, and shown in these drawings with three bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms and 1 powder room.

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Each home’s footprint is compact while the space is expansive. With living spaces located well above street level, views are open and privacy is guaranteed.

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Following the natural slope of the site results in the eastern house being nine feet higher than the west house. While its driveway is a bit more dramatic, so are the views.

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The plans for both houses are simple and easily adaptable.

The home’s living space is generous, and while the open space keeps everybody in contact, there’s also a sense of definition between the living room and the kitchen and dining.

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This section perspective clarifies the spatial relationships.

Looking from the living room back to the kitchen and dining, one gets a sense of how light and nature wrap around this house. The sloped site is present as well.

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Just enough definition in the kitchen keeps messes from spilling into living spaces, yet visual connections are strong.

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Two sides of the kitchen are wide open, and a third wall is filled with full-height cabinets. These provide ample, easily accessible storage, as well as a built-in refrigerator. The kitchen has its own terrace, perfect for barbecue.

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The master bedroom, part of a master suite on the mezzanine.

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This open space, shown here as an office, is easily tailored to the owner’s needs. It would also make a great library, workout space or media room.

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On a sloped site, level space like this roof terrace is at a premium. Partially covered with a glazed roof, this flexible outdoor room combines fun living with fantastic views and light. Definitely a must have in Portland.

Why not make one of these houses your home?

 

Portland Courtyard Community

This development of five houses, built on a 100′ x 100′ lot, is designed to engender community. Houses 1 and 2 address the street in a typically Portland way – porches, yards and interaction between inside and outside.

The architecture is open and inviting. The five 1,600 square foot houses are similar, but not identical, and laid out around a casual square. Each home has three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms.

Four of the houses are linked through their carports, while the fifth house is free-standing. Each house has a front porch  and a roof terrace, giving ample opportunities for indoor-outdoor living, and all five share a common courtyard. This area, composed of permeable paving and green, landscaped yards, maximizes social interaction for children and adults alike.

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Courtyard entrance.

The view above, from  the second floor of House 1, gives a sense of the community space.

The floor plans for House 5 (above) are similar to the others in layout; with an open first floor, space-efficient bedrooms on the second level, and a flexible fun third level.

The living room of House 5 and its front porch, accessible through a large, sliding glass door, create an interaction space for the family and the community.

The open ground floor keeps the family in touch.

House 5’s intermediate stair landings project into the courtyard, and bring light into its core.

On the third level of each house, a play room and roof terrace give ample opportunities for your family to do what they enjoy most. Covered outdoor space keeps your options open in Portland’s ever-changing climate

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The living space of House 2 faces the neighborhood.

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House 2’s kitchen includes the family dining table.

This community design  balances the benefits of shared living with the retained identity of an individual home.

All designs, drawings and renderings in this posting were created by me. While this specific layout is intended for two 50′ x 100′  lots, joined to make a 100′ x 100′ lot, I’m sure it could be even better tailored to your specific property.

Landmark Apartment Restoration

Located in Mies van der Rohe’s landmark steel and glass apartment towers at 860-880 Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, this apartment was in need of updating and backdating at the same time. My design for its renovation was guided by the building itself; to honor its groundbreaking architecture.

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The apartment layout was returned to original condition, with non-original closets and column enclosures removed.

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The kitchen was completely gutted. Bulthaup cabinets & stainless steel counters were used to evoke the building’s original Metalcraft cabinets. Satin-finished glass tile backsplashes recall the ground floor’s recessed curtainwall. Honed basalt floor pavers, heated by the building’s radiant floor system, create a comfortable, durable foundation.

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The highly customizable Bulthaup cabinets were exploited to maximum effect. All base cabinets utilized deep drawer storage, making this a very space efficient kitchen.

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The modest bathrooms were given a finish upgrade, with glass tile, Duravit fixtures and Hansgrohe faucets. Custom stainless steel trim wraps the shower entrance.

This project was an independent commission. I performed all design, development, documentation and presentation. I administered construction, and created all the photos and drawings in this post.

For more information about the building, please have a look at its website: www.860880lakeshoredrive.com

Millennium Park Plaza

The goal of this project was to revitalize the base of a mixed-use tower in the heart of Chicago. Originally built in the 1970’s, the tower base’s mix of sub-grade retail, office and residential lobbies and under-utilized outdoor plaza space were crying out for help. Our design sought to simplify the many floor levels of the existing retail space, with the goal of creating larger, more leasable spaces that opened directly to street level. Lobbies were enlarged and upgraded, and the exterior was given a fresh new image.

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The residential lobby was transformed into a glassy, light-filled hall. Rich, warm materials greet the residents as they return home, raising the profile of the building to match its premium, downtown location.

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The retail portion of the building faces Michigan Avenue. It combines large retails spaces, which have direct access to the street, with a mall. The mall acts as a hub, connecting small retail, office and residential lobbies and a new entrance to a nearby train station.

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As can be imagined, connecting all these spaces was quite complex. Working with existing conditions further challenged the design team to ensure that every bit of structure, ductwork and piping was accounted for.

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One of the greatest challenges was accounting for emergency exits, both existing exits of the office and residential portions of the tower above, and new exits required by the enlarged retail spaces.

This work was performed while I was employed at Solomon Cordwell Buenz. On this project, I performed the role of project architect; coordinating site exploration, engineering consultants and SCB’s design team to ensure that all the project’s features were safe and feasible, while maximizing space and minimizing construction cost.

The renderings featured in this post were created by SCB.