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In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention at the outset that come spring, I will move from Boston to Portland and live at the Jefferson, Deo volente.

Even if it was not the principal factor, the Jefferson's design had much to do with its appeal as a residence. To my untutored eye, the building incorporates a de rigueur modernist solid combined with a "postmodern" take on Art Deco. Modernist rigor wedded to postmodern mannerism makes for unlikely bedfellows. Indeed,
where elsewhere in Portland can a comparable incongruity be observed? If for nothing else, Vallaster & Corl deserve compliments for ingenuity. The Jefferson, though, is simultaneously eccentric and attractive, and that achievement impresses me more than mere cleverness does. That the Jefferson also offers welcome relief from the residential monoliths proliferating in Portland is more to the credit of the program, I suppose, than of the architects.

It seems odd that Vallaster &
Corl, despite a considerable body of work in and around Portland, have yet received relatively little notice. Googling their name confirms this. This could be because, unlike some better-known
local firms that flirt with design by formula, Vallaster & Corl seem to have no signature style, i.e.,
no brand recognition. The blog's
characterization of the Jefferson as "humble" might apply here as well. Look at Vallaster & Corl's
Web site and you will find work that is all over the map stylisti-
cally. Their house designs could
make you think that if you asked for the Taj Mahal, they would give you one. Yet what unites this
potpourri of a portfolio is a slightly oddball aspect and a refreshing freedom from cliché. These are the very qualities that for me distinguish the Jefferson.
I also happen to agree that the Jefferson could prove to be Vallaster & Corl's best building to date.

I will resist the temptation to discuss function. Suffice it to say that within barely 1000 sq. ft., Vallaster & Corl have given me
an efficient floorplan and forty-
three continuous feet of fourteen-
foot windows. They deserve my thanks for more than a merely attractive design.

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