Portland Modern is a sponsor of this site, but this post is not intended to be extra promotion. Rather, I’m writing this to spread the word about Zaik, an 82 year old architect of great significance who, despite still coming to work everyday, confesses to feeling like an “invisible man” compared to the presence he once had on the local architectural scene. If I were a young architect, I'd be taking this guy out to lunch and soaking up Zaik's knowledge like it was au jus for my French dip sandwich.
Zaik has practiced continuously here since 1952, creating a portfolio that’s extensive as it is impressive. Early in his career, he was influenced by legendary local architects like Pietro Belluschi, John Yeon, Van Evra Bailey, John Storrs and others. Zaik was part of the “14th Street Gang”, a group of practitioners in the generation immediately following Belluschi and Yeon who distinguished themselves with exceptional mid-century modern houses.
The article is too long to reproduce here, and Bob has a huge collection of photographs that were taken and digitized from Zaik’s personal collection, so it's worth going to the source. Even so, I’d like to share a few extra thoughts.
Zaik has had a few different partners over the years but has always run or co-run some kind of small firm, save for the start he got working in the Portland office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill not long after graduating from the University of Oregon.