A Wind Fence House at the Gorge
Ths is a concept model for a home overlooking the Columbia River Gorge that directs views to the sweeping vistas that surround the site. The organic building form fits the contours of the site and provides protection from the strong westerly winds that make the site inhospitable for outside activities.
A Behavioral Approach to Architectural Design
Architecture is the accommodation of human activity in space on a site, not just inside. First, find the "sweet spot" on the site...then stay off of it; Stay off it with the house. Stay off it with cars. Make the sweet spot your “outside room” (i.e., garden, patio, etc.). A great site plan should reserve this best part of the site for outdoor activities, rather than “using it up” by putting the house there. A house can only be as good as the “place” that is created by the outdoor spaces and gardens, making the property a place where you want to be.
Once the site plan establishes the location of the sweet spot with the house adjacent to it, the most important spaces inside the house should be placed next to the outdoor room. A connection is thereby created between the inside and outside spaces. The interior space is enriched by the visual connection to the outside.
The design process can then focus on the house as an envelope for a series of spaces that accommodate the flow of the owner’s activities, “spaces for people”. The design of the spaces must also respond to the human condition. For the purposes of architectural design, it can be said, people’s similarities greatly outweigh their differences. For example, we prefer to stand on the ground instead of decks, we covet our privacy, we protect our family, etc.
The size and shape of the spaces for people's activities should then be determined. These spaces should “flow” from the entry, to the formal living spaces, to the family spaces and kitchen, and finally to the bedroom and bathroom spaces. There is an “arrival sequence” and “privacy sequence” that leads through a series of places where we live.
With this understanding of how spaces for people’s activities should be arranged on a site, inside and out, attention can then be turned to the design of what the house should look like. The “style” of the house should be “of the place”. It should be responsive to the location’s climate, locally available materials, architectural traditions, and the owner’s preferences. With a choice of style comes a “kit of parts” that can be used to “speak in the language that is architecture” to express all the things that make the house beautiful (massing, proportion, scale, rhythm, etc.) and a uniquely appropriate response to the region, the site, and the owner’s requirements.
Purpose for the Web Site
Potential clients often research an architect's work to find a "style" of design they like with the idea of retaining that architect to reproduce that design for their own project. As you browse through the Projects shown on this website, you will notice a variety of "styles" of designs. What is consistent in our practice is the application of the Design Logic described above. This process allows the formulation of "uniquely appropriate concepts" that respond to specific sites and to the specific goals, objectives, and preferences of our clients. The Projects are intended to be examples of our ability to provide a "uniquely appropriate" design for your particular project.