Project size: 2,500 square feet

Program: The Slender House, built on a tight infill site, embraces the limits of its property to maximize the scale as it’s experienced. Located on a twenty-five-foot-wide lot, the buildable area for the project was further restricted by five-foot setbacks on either side and a ten-foot setback from the adjacent sidewalk. Despite these limitations, the clients required a full-size, three-bedroom house, along with garage and additional apartment.

Location: Portland, Oregon

Solution: In response to these constraints, the architects’ first step was to perceptually push the setbacks of the site back to the property line by creating a singular surface that stretches across the entirety of the lot. Realized as a grid of square stone pavers, this continuous texture acts as a carpet. The different components of the house were then broken apart and redistributed across the site to frame a new central outdoor living space, co-opting the blank wall of an adjacent two-story masonry building to serve as a third surface.

Construction and materials: The materiality of the project reinforces the object-like quality of the building. A charred wood cladding on the exterior protects an interior of quarter-sawn white oak flooring, cabinets, and doors. Building on the site strategy, the interior organization further takes advantage of the narrowness of the site and the relationship to the adjacent masonry building. The service areas of the main house – stairs, closets, and bathrooms – are consolidated in the center of the building’s plan, breaking the remainder of each level into two open, primary rooms on either side. On the ground level, operable glass doors face onto the alley between the new house and existing neighboring building, allowing for the living space to continue into the building’s setback and the new outdoor space.


Additional Information

Gross square footage: 2,500 square feet

Total project costwithheld





Waechter Architecture, 3928 N Williams Ave, Portland, OR 97227


Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:

Ben Waechter, Bradley Shanks



Structural: Munzing Structural Engineering


General contractor:

Stai Construction



Jeremy Bitterman



Structural System


Exterior Cladding

Wood: Nakamoto Forestry; Yakisugi Cypress Panels


Wood frame: Sierra Pacific Windows - Aluminum Clad Wood


Wood doors: Sierra Pacific Windows - Aluminum Clad Wood

Interior Finishes

Demountable partitions:

Cabinetwork and custom woodwork:


Other unique products that contribute to sustainability:

Add any additional building components or special equipment that made a significant contribution to this project: Pavers - Mutual Materials; Eco Priora Permeable Pavers