Elevating Design: The Portland Sequoia House Saga

Roots Rediscovered: Navigating Back to Oregon’s Ancestral Terrain

Nestled in Portland, Oregon, a dormant half-acre canvas awaited transformation, safeguarded by two magnificent sequoias with a seven-foot diameter. For our clients, this plot symbolized more than just a building site; it embodied a return to the cherished neighborhood of their upbringing. Having previously collaborated on a residence in California, our friendship blossomed into a resilient design partnership as we set out on an ambitious architectural venture.

Photo Courtesy of Wa Design

Architectural Dissent: Rethinking Tradition for Uniqueness

The challenge loomed large – to forge a residence that not only broke away from the customary colonial homes dotting the landscape but also paid homage to the towering sequoias. Our response was unconventional – a tripartite structure comprising a garage and studio, a main house with bedrooms, and a pool house accompanied by a mechanical core. This departure from architectural norms allowed us to fashion a slender main house, strategically threading its way between the sequoias, safeguarding the site’s intrinsic character.

Photo Courtesy of Wa Design

Designing with Nature: The Sequoia’s Breath Incorporated

Venturing into the technical realm, our design embraced a vertical expansion of the main structure. Featuring oversized glazing spanning two stories, the house not only opened itself to panoramic views but also established a profound connection with the sequoias. The center ridge beam, a structural marvel, ascended nearly thirty vertical feet, an audacious nod to the colossal trees’ grandeur. The sequoia axis, meticulously observed, seamlessly organized the pool house, garage/studio, and gracefully curved walls, entwining the built environment with the sacred presence of the sequoias.

Photo Courtesy of Wa Design

The Symphony Unveiled: Architectural Technicalities

Beyond aesthetics, technical intricacies played a pivotal role. The slender main house, a mere twenty-one feet wide, pushed the boundaries of design feasibility. A delicate ballet of engineering enabled the structure to snugly fit between the sequoias, preserving their heritage. The oversized glazing, a marriage of form and function, not only facilitated breathtaking views but also served as an active thermal element, optimizing natural light and energy efficiency.

Photo Courtesy of Wa Design

The pool house, with its underlying mechanical core, stood as a testament to sustainable living. The integration of eco-friendly technologies, from solar panels to rainwater harvesting systems, added layers of functionality to the design. The curved walls, beyond their aesthetic charm, doubled as windbreaks, enhancing the house’s resilience to the Pacific Northwest’s weather nuances.

Photo Courtesy of Wa Design

Narrative in Concrete: Architectural Poetry Echoing Sequoias

In the symphony of design, the sequoia axis emerged as the conductor, orchestrating a harmonious blend of architectural elements. Every facet, from the pool house’s functionality to the garage/studio’s versatility, resonated with the silent poetry of the sequoias. The Portland Sequoia House transcends mere structural existence; it encapsulates a narrative, an architectural sonnet echoing the profound presence of the sequoias.

Photo Courtesy of Wa Design

In this residence, architecture becomes an immersive experience, an intricate dance between technical prowess and natural grace, immortalizing the timeless beauty of the sequoias in the fabric of design.

Photo Courtesy of Wa Design

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