Whitten House / PIQUE

  • 16 Sep 2009
  • Houses Selected Works


Architects: PIQUE llc
Location: Tumalo, OR,
Structural Engineer: Elemental Engineering llc
Contractor: R&H Construction
Project year: 2009
Photographs: Peter Jahnke

1252692397-library 1252692408-patio 1252692427-stair2 1252692443-up

This residence sits on a remote 10 acre site comprised of Sage & Juniper trees in Central Oregon. Conceived as two simple cubes in the landscape, one box for sleeping and one for living, the structure offers two distinct means of interaction with the landscape. The sleeping box is low & burrowed into earth, while the living box floats above, hovering just at treetop level. East & South orientations are exploited for views as well as passive solar orientation of the home.


Exterior materials were chosen for durability against the extreme climate and risk for forest fire. All rainwater will be harvested & stored for landscaping or firefighting purposes. The pool provides an additional margin of wildfire safety as a usable body of water on the remote site.

Evacuated tube solar water heaters efficiently provide most of the heating for the home through in-floor radiant tubing. The buildings narrow profile and extensive glazing combined with the regions low humidity allow for passive cooling of the home.


Initially tied to the power grid, the structure has provisions to eventually expand its p.v. array to the point that the home may be taken off grid entirely, and become completely self sufficient, with no other utilities entering or exiting the site.

Cite: "Whitten House / PIQUE" 16 Sep 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 19 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=35030>


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    im agree with peppy. is this a new international style? boxes, boxes and more boxes.
    all over the world invaded by boxes, silly boxes. when i was young, the television was called the silly box, and nowadays is turned on our homes.
    this house could be in spain, new york, greece, ireland, australia. no context. lets talk with mr Siza!!!!!

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    I like that this is such a clean design, and the plans even reflect that. I also appreciate the workmanship on the final construction. Honestly, I think I would love to live in this kind of house. It would be relaxing to be surrounded by subtle white and grey planes framing views of the wilderness. I wouldn’t want my brain to be stimulated in a place like this, I’d want relaxation, especially since I would live in the country.

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    Es muy buena. la idea de dejar la cocina y el área social arriba para privilegiar estos espacios con las excelentes vistas es lo mejor. circulaciones claras alargadas y agradables.felicitaciones!

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    I’ve seen this office show up in a couple other places lately and while I think this house is incredibly clean and well detailed, it is not as layered and imaginative as their other projects I’ve seen. In any case, this is a well crafted house from a group worth keeping an eye on.

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    Every building is an unnatural intrusion into nature, some more starkly apparent than others. To claim a building planted into wild nature like this to any degree ‘engages’ its surroundings is to form an excuse for claiming the spot and forever changing it.

    This one intrudes into wild nature without pretense of being part of it; it exists, it takes up no more space than is necessary and performs its function efficiently.

    If it has to be there, or, rather, since it has to be there, I appreciate that the owners and designer (or designers) put their focus into what is tangible, making it work well, mindful to take no more from nature (both from the site and elsewhere) than is required.

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    The building itself seems so very well made and executed, there are small details here and there and given it’s location, I think it works well as what it was designed for… just because you have a large wooded area that doesn’t mean you MUST integrate, this house certainly is iconoclastic in a very good way, IMHO.

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    they refer to creating this space in relationship with nature—creating different purposes that don’t obstruct from what is naturally happening on site. why wouldn’t you want to embrace such a beautiful view like that?

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