LocationPortland, United States
Architects in ChargeHeidi Beebe, Doug Skidmore
Structural EngineerMadden & Baughman
ConstructionRose Bridge Construction
The design goal is to create eye an catching form and facade based on a recurring pattern of large corner windows without mullions. The construction goal is to create a light, sleek appearance by detailing overhangs, cantilevered roofs, and siding details in as sleek and flush of a way as possible using conventional wood framing construction.
Craftsman style houses rely on carpentry technology for both structure and ornament. Wood beams, rafters, eaves and window sills are economical but full of flourishes. Here, basic carpentry and essentially traditional wood detailing are used to bring texture and subtle shifts to the facade.
The house is full of up-to-date, high-efficiency heating and cooling, intelligent thermostats, advanced insulation techniques, high performance windows and doors, and low V.O.C. finishes. Perhaps the most eco-conscious aspect is the plan, which emphasizes seamless indoor/outdoor living in both the front and back, and access to fresh air cross-ventilation throughout. Large corner windows placed high in the wall keep the house naturally lit, reducing the need for electric lighting.
Siskiyou house is more a thoughtful application of common materials than a showcase for specialty materials. Most of the working surfaces in the house, for example, ceramic tile, cabinets and counters, are not luxurious or high-end. The emphasis is on quality of open space, like that which might be found in a small art gallery. Examples of workmanship necessary for this kind of result: very smooth gypsum board walls, mono-pour etched concrete exterior stairs and porches, and clean, continuous white oak wall caps and fireplace surrounds.
Although the floor plan is completely open from front to back, you can’t see through the house from the street because a) the main floor is set four feet above street level, so passersby are looking up at the ceiling, b) windows are pushed to the corners creating large areas of solid wall along the street, and c) main floor rooms are arranged in a zig zag plan. For example, the homeowners can receive guests at the front door completely out of sight from the street. The second floor master bedroom which is also street-facing is strongly sheltered from direct sight-lines while strategically capturing an unexpected view of the distant downtown Portland skyline.
Because the house is a contemporary expression, it is somewhat aggressively distinct from the typical houses in the neighborhood. However, it’s still a two-story, painted wood house. Exterior materials and detailing are congruent with and complimentary to Portland’s wood house milieu. The house doesn't shy away from window trim, window sills, corner boards, and articulated siding. These elements “talk” to all the wood houses in the neighborhood. We hope to have brought all these elements together in a way that is sharp in appearance and coherent without being too decorative.