Salmon River House

Location / Salmon River
Project Type / New Construction

Rendering / Plus Visual

The site for the project is a 3.8 acre rural site that fronts onto the Salmon River in coastal Oregon. The site has many distinct features, including a slowly eroding oxbow, floodplain, and wooded areas. It has several micro-climates, including riparian and upland ecosystems. There are two versions of the architectural program – an initial residential program and an ultimate institutional one. The initial program is a house for a couple who are both neurologists as well as nature enthusiasts, planning to retire and inhabit the site full-time. The clients are very interested in the relationship between sensory perception and experience, and how they can understand architecture as a lens for their engagement of the site. They plan to ultimately donate the property to a local land conservancy, and the house will become a nature observatory that is open to the public (the second program).

One approaches the project from a long road that winds through dense forest. The house’s hinged geometry results in an enigmatic encounter, the house reveals itself and then retreats several times before terminating in a long driveway, sheltered by old growth Douglas Fir and Maple. The architectural proposal responds to the complex and nuanced nature of the site by first grounding itself into the slope to the North-East and then reaching out and extending toward the river. Large apertures along the South façade reflect the complexity of the site and allow for a variety of interior atmospheres. Along the open floor plan, the site shifts from dense forest, to river panorama and mews each of which offer a different environment; from contemplative to gathering and public to retreat.