Oregon holds some the most varied geography and private developments in the United States. Home to diverse landscapes and architecture, the state is defined by the Cascade mountain range, windswept coastlines, dense forests, and a high desert environment to the east. These varied geographies have shaped the state’s construction techniques and residential design. At the heart of these building efforts are timber and glass homes found throughout the state.
Natural features like the Columbia River supported hubs of economic activity for hundreds of years, while famous routes like the Oregon Trail became major paths for ranchers, miners, and settlers on their journey west. A central element of the Oregon landscape is its tall conifer trees, Douglas firs, which were favored by residential builders due to their high strength-to-weight ratio and stiffness. Many homes were also built with timber salvaged from old structures like docks, barns, and sawmills.
Today, timber construction and wood cladding is used to tie residences to their contexts and historic building traditions. Experiencing a resurgence in popularity due to advances in adhesives, insulation, and processing, timber residential projects are made with careful detailing and craft. The following homes showcase Oregon’s new housing projects with wood and glass facades set in dramatic landscapes.
Situated to be in harmony with its lush landscape, this home built for a master gardener takes every opportunity to draw in views of the surrounding gardens and rolling hills, while also creating a warm and comfortable space suitable for a multi-generational family. The form of the reclaimed barn wood-clad house is reminiscent of a farm structure or even a greenhouse with its gridded glazing and pitched roof and high windows at each end of the main volume flood the home with light.
Perched above the beach at the edge of the tree line, this vacation home allows the dramatic Oregon Coast to take center stage. The design maintains sightlines from the sheltered forest to the open coastline with a minimal structure of glass and steel. Atop the two-story, transparent box, the copper-clad green roof is an elevated slab of native ferns and grasses.
M1 is a private residence at the border of Portland's Forest Park. The residence provides a venue for interplay between the vibrant outdoor environment and dramatic interior spaces that simultaneously shelter occupants, and frame the expanse of the surroundings. The sloping site presented technical challenges, and demanded an innovative approach to marry a desire for a relatively small building footprint and generous and flowing spaces.
Ash+Ash integrates contemporary architecture with high performance sustainable design on an infill site on the northwest flank of Mount Tabor in Southeast Portland. The residence takes advantage of regional and distant views to the east, north, and west, and a close relationship to its neighborhood and immediate landscape. The parti stems from a desire to create a range of terraces and porches for use at different times of the day and in different weather.
The Music Box Residence was designed around the intimate and communal qualities of music and family. Situated along a steep sloping site on the outskirts of Portland, the Music Box Residence rises up to capture and accentuate magnificent views of the Portland cityscape and the Cascade Range beyond.
Skylab Architecture and Method Homes partnered on developing a modular and prefab building system named HOMB. The system uses 100 square foot triangle modules designed to be site adaptable which fasten together to create endless form possibilities. Modules are stacked and assembled to meet the height and square footage requirements for each unique project.
This coastal residence is an exploration in erasing boundaries between indoors and out. Sited on the bay side of a peninsula on the Oregon Coast, the 2,865 square-foot home opens to the natural landscape with 180-degree views. The design employs a duality of openness and expansive views with spaces that are private and quiet. The residence is organized in three parts, joined in U-shape formation around a central courtyard fronting the view.