Site Size: 4,800 square feet
Project Size: 2,400 square feet
Portland, Oregon-based architect Benjamin Waechter's design for a single-family home minimizes the environmental impact to the steep, tree-lined site.
In the west hills of Portland, the Tower House is perched on a small shelf in the slope, downhill from the street, among Douglas fir and pine trees, with panoramic views of the city and mountains to the north.
Waechter says he 'built up, rather than out' to reduce foundation costs and limit disturbances to the sloping site. The 2,400-square-foot, four-story rectangular volume, built on a 600-square-foot footprint, is clad in black corrugated steel, punctured with windows and two recessed balconies on the upper levels.
From the street, the house is accessed via a 25-foot-long pedestrian bridge, leading to the entry at the third level, which opens into the kitchen and dining areas. Waechter stacked spaces over four levels so that the living room is above the entry level and bedrooms occupy the first and second floors. Support spaces (bathrooms, closets, and stairs) are placed on the perimeter.
The wood-frame house sits on a concrete foundation, supported with steel underpinnings drilled into the hillside. The continuous siding curves at the building's four corners, eliminating the need for trim along those joints. Waechter used powder-coated steel for the bridge and railings and finished the primary rooms with oil-rubbed quarter-sawn white oak.
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