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Jim Heuer

It's great to see talented architects producing cutting edge residential work in middle-class sized homes. So much modern residential output expresses poorly executed references to "traditional" designs, which, quite frankly, were better in their original incarnations.

However, I must respond to the comment about Cor-Ten, as possibly being a "fad". Cor-Ten has been around for many years, and was originally used for bridges and railroad cars (which are still important uses), but it hit the architectural "big time" in Chicago way back in 1965 with the opening of the Chicago City Center (now Daley Plaza) designed by Jacques Brownson of the firm C. F. Murphy Associates, which is 648 feet tall and clad entirely in Cor-Ten (which understandably is also part of the structure).

Just two years after the building was completed, the (in)famous Picasso sculpture that has become an icon of the city of Chicago was built in the plaza at the base of the City Center building -- again entirely of Cor-Ten steel.

Maybe a "fad" but surely an enduring one.


Generally, I like the simple shape of this house, and that it has a roof deck. The impression I get from the picture though, is that it's closed in...not enough windows or something.

The Cor-ten looks great in those pictures. How it looks 10 to 20 to 50 years down the road is something I'm not sure about. Rusty, weathered finishes are appealing enough though. I like old steel corrugated and galvanized roofing that's turned grey with rusty spots here and there... a lot. The stuff seems to easily last 50 years, and is very resistant to leaking.

The set-back measure taken here is interesting. I believe there's a history to how and why the set-back required in city ordinances came to be, but I know little about it. Roughly speaking, my impression is that it came about so people wouldn't build their house right next to the street or sidewalk so as allow th maximum square footage for the back yard.

The set-back often means a minimum square footage for the front yard that's more or less wasted space that people have to maintain. As far as this house is set back, it looks as though the owners could plant a substantial hedge barrier and still have room to put in a very enjoyable front garden.


I agree with Brian that the outside of the house can feel a little harsh, but the interior more than makes up for it. This is a pretty cool house and good for SEED for making it happen.


When you see the house in person the harshness just isn't there. It has a very refined earthen feel to it. Well done!


Very impressive, there are not that many good examples of SIP built houses yet that dont try to hide behind faux classical looks.

This house definitely proves that SIPs can be used well to design a well crafted home that is not only modern, but comfortably looking to live in.

I hope Portland sees more developments like this for various income levels. Also, SIPs should be a staple in modern house building, it is a technology that is severely underused at the moment.


also, I am really curious what the floorplans look for this house...if it is possible for you to get a copy of them to post here.


not mentioned in the posting - the house is for sale.

floor plans (click the 'design' tab) and other information can be found on the project blog:



The longer I am in this craft the more impressed with the ability of northwest weather to destroy over time that which is so special when it is first built. I would like to see structures designed and built to be around for at least one hundred years.

Although this may be very design forward I see it as extremely difficult to execute so that it will remain sound and handsome in 2109.

Don Rogers

Interesting presentation. I would suggest however that you make it clear that a conventional floor plan and building style would also lend itself to the use of SIP. A relative build a 6000 sq ft SIP home in Wyoming which is beautiful, strong, functional, economical to heat and cool with the use of atrim on southern exposure. It will be around in 2109.

Peter Stubbs

Mark: I have to say I'm pretty sure this house is designed pretty much exactly the way you were hoping. Corten weathers and lasts nicely (unlike many exterior surfaces) and the barn wood is pretty much the way it's going to look for decades at the least. This isn't a shiny steel building that will tarnish over time, at least from what I can gather. As for sound and handsome, you wouldn't believe the amount of work my 1909 house needs (and has needed) both aesthetically and as far as structural and building envelope issues go. (For the record we have huge CMU blocks as exterior cladding. Original to the building. Really.)

I'm more curious as to the resiliency of the roof membrane. No real doubts, but I'd love to see a detailed section.


I think this house will weather pretty well.

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