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Pure modernism for a residence clad in glass and wood

Pure modernism for a residence clad in glass and wood


Designed by William Kaven Architecture, this stunning glass structure, framed in cedar wood, reinforced concrete and aluminum, sits on the east bank of the Willamette River in the Oak Grove neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. In addition to offering panoramic views of the river and its wildlife, the house overlooks boat docks, freight barges and an early 20th-century railroad bridge, a reminder of the city’s industrial roots.

Thanks to their talent and many years of experience, William Kaven Architecture has created a contemporary home on the east bank of the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon, in constant conversation with the outside world. The residence is oriented around a large maple tree that already existed on the site, allowing the ensemble to continually open up from the river to the courtyard. The owners wanted a home suitable for extended visits from friends, children and grandchildren, while ensuring distinct zones of privacy. The solution is a design reminiscent of a small area, with a detached casita that can accommodate one or two guests. Upon arrival, visitors enter a spacious courtyard, a feature inspired by the architects’ Mexican origins. On the other side of the courtyard, the glass wall of the main dwelling guarantees a direct view of the river from the living room. Thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows, the courtyard feels less like an enclosure than a liminal space that dramatically reveals the breathtaking scenery to the west. The interior design highlights the owners’ extensive collection of modern American and Italian furniture. The range of understated yet sophisticated materials includes sawn white oak cabinetry, Corian countertops, built-in fireplaces, plaster walls, exposed aggregate concrete and herringbone oak floors. With its cedar, aluminum and formwork concrete exterior, this construction is a modern addition to the neighborhood, which consists mainly of ranch-style homes from the 60s and 70s. The rear patio houses an outdoor living space, organized around a large wood-burning fireplace with the Lake Oswego bridge and one of the city’s main waterfront parks as a backdrop.

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