Neal Creek Residence / Paul McKean Architecture

Architects: Paul McKean Architecture
Location: Hood River, Oregon,
Project team: Paul McKean, Amy Donohue
Client: Paul McKean, Amy Donohue
Project Year: 2007
Constructed area: 93 sqm
Photographs: Paul McKean

The Neal Creek residence treads lightly upon its surroundings, maximizing valley and water views with minimal impact to the natural environment. The owners – windsurfing and snowboarding enthusiasts – were interested in a modest weekend retreat that would be highly efficient and ecologically minded. Their wooded two-acre parcel of land presented many unique challenges including wetlands, creek protection setbacks, and floodplain restrictions.

The design solution for the two-bedroom house addresses these issues by elevating the habitable space one full floor above grade. Views to the creek are enhanced from this position and the living spaces float within the tree tops. Lifting the main space protects the house from potential flooding and brush fire damage while making way for a covered outdoor patio and much needed gear storage below. At the uppermost level, a future planted roof will replace the landscape lost to the building footprint and reduces heat gain to the interior spaces.

Products in this project

Bathroom Equipment: Toto

  • Dual-Flush Toilets by Toto

Floor: Tigerwood Flooring

  • FSC T&G, with Oslo vegetable based sealer by Tigerwood Flooring

Joinery: Solatube, Pella

  • Skylight by Solatube
  • Metal clad windows by Pella

Kitchen Equipment: Bosch, Uline

  • Dishwasher by Bosch
  • Refrigerator by Uline
Cite: "Neal Creek Residence / Paul McKean Architecture" 12 May 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 19 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    It appears the house was designed for two couples… oh well… why not… Spare beds in the hall adjacent to master bedrooms (for unexpected guests I guess) seem to be a kind of misunderstanding but… well… if this is what residents want – why not? So, apart from rather unpleasant contrast of the building form and colour with its surroundings (resembles an abandoned shipping container) and a pitch dark bathroom that could have a nice window, there is nothing wrong with this building :)

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I like it. The proportions look similar to a single-wide (which is practical) but it’s well designed and has a timeless feel to it.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    it definitely is very shipping container design going on for it. The site location and the design of the building seem to be at odds with each other. Though it would be interesting to see this idea being applied to a more populated setting such as someplace urban or suburban.

    Though on a plus side, good to see architecture near to the Portland metro that I live in being shown in here.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I am delighted bye the simple, modern and functional design of this house. Do you have the cost of building it?

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I wasnt commenting on its minimal environmental impact or what the needs of the client were…I am sure both were just in the design of the building. I was just commenting on the use of materials of the structure and the overall design of the building, and that it looked to be more fitting in an urban or suburban setting. It visually looks odd in this location, though nothing wrong with its environmental impact.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    boxy architecture…excellent architecture…simple but nice interior, i adore the build-in beds, can be soooo useful!!! well done!!

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Simple and beautiful. It looks very reasonable to build and the shipping container look does’nt bother me at all.

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    nice entrance! I would like to see a shot of underneath the house, is it a patio area as shown in the plan?? This is where the house could really engage its surroundings because the living area seems detached from the surround nature

Share your thoughts