Small Home in Eastern Oregon Suits Its Site
This compact, panelized home takes its design inspiration from the vast Western landscape and local building traditions.
Synopsis: An architect describes the design of an 884-sq.-ft. new custom home in Eastern Oregon. The designed is geared toward prefabrication, with each room of the house defined by proportioned shapes that can be repeated, rotated, mirrored, and nestled together into other patterns to suit the needs of a variety of homeowners. The house is oriented to take advantage of the powerful surrounding geography, and has a shed roof with an entry at the low end to create a natural sequence of movement through gradually rising interior spaces. The interior materials include Oregon oak, black walnut, and Douglas fir. The envelope is detailed with rigid mineral wool and spray foam along with full-cavity batt insulation. The article includes floor plans and a sidebar listing the house’s $300-per-sq.-ft. high-quality systems and materials.
Playa is a retreat center in Eastern Oregon that offers residency to artists, writers, and scientists. The small campus is set on the shore of Summer Lake between the Fremont-Winema Forest and the Great Basin. Following steady growth and popularity, Playa’s Board of Directors committed in 2014 to building a new small home for the incoming executive director. Playa’s co-founder, Bill Roach, a master designer with four decades of experience building custom homes, asked us to join the design team.
We had collaborated before, in 2008, when Roger Ota, my lead designer, and I partnered with Bill to upgrade Playa’s site and infrastructure and reinvent its common building. Since then, the three of us have continued to explore new architectural frontiers. In addition to ongoing conversations via phone and email, we’ve met periodically over the years to huddle over sketch pads and pints of Oregon craft beer to share design concepts, discuss construction technology, and debate the merits of prefabrication.
The need for a…