Siskiyou House is a contemporary interpretation of a traditional Portland “foursquare” house. The house is 3,500 square-feet on three levels, with a detached single car garage. It sits on a 50’ x 100’ level parcel in a neighborhood that is oriented along an elevated ridge in the Northeast quadrant of the city. This neighborhood is pedestrian oriented, and like much of Portland’s close-in neighborhoods, comprised of an eclectic mix of post-war style, wood-framed houses lining both sides of the street.
Designed for a family relocated from Chicago, the 4,000 square-foot house brings an urban, gallery-like spaciousness to the interior and employs extensive areas of glass facing the street. In combination with the site proportions and zoning regulations, the conventional program — bedrooms over an open living floor and a full height basement — steers the massing toward a traditional foursquare type. The design proposes two transformations to that type.
First, in order to break up the bulk of the massing, the sectional organization and proportions of interior rooms are made legible on the facades with shifted volumes, offset planes and deep shadow lines. Fixed picture windows, placed at each street-facing corner to further reduce mass from the corners, are varied in size— scaled to room functions and aimed at views of the street, the downtown skyline and the distant western hills.
Second, the traditional approach to cladding a foursquare in a uniform wrapper of horizontal wood siding and window trim is modernized into an adaptive, differentiated variation on board and batten siding. This vertical siding system is used to highlight the shifted wall planes, break up the bulk of the facade, and add a secondary scale of detail and texture. Wide trim offsets the large windows and marks the building corners. The exterior cladding is composed of readily available lumber shapes including 1 x 8 v-groove cedar siding, 1 x 8 solid board casements, and 1 x 2’s and 2 x 4’s for the battens.
Riffing on a conventional house type is intended to create an architecture that is both in dialogue with the period character of the neighborhood, but also creating a model for living in a way that is more open to the street and connected to the surrounding environment.
On the interior, in order to balance visual access with privacy, living spaces are offset in a zig zag sequence that unfolds upon entering. The main living space features 8’ tall twin windows at the porch, with smaller operable corner windows bringing ventilation and daylight into the room. An accordion glass wall at the back of the house allows the main interior spaces to connect all the way through the house from the front of the site to the back.
Material Used :
1. Cedar Siding and Cedar Battens - Local Lumber Yard
2. Windows - Loewen
3. Window Wall - Loewen
4. Countertop - Silestone
5. Cabinetry - Big Branch
6. Exterior Paint - Benjamin Moore