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I really like internal courtyard idea, but the front is an insult to the streetscape and the neighbors.

Calvin Ross Carl

The front does seem a little peculiar, but I appreciate the idea of essentially turning the house backwards and focusing all of the house's attention on the courtyard. Either way, I am excited to see an architect and developer prove that an intriguing home can be created the same way a typical suburban tract home is made.

On another note, such a shame that $327k is considered an affordable home. I would definitely call myself middle class, and would still struggle with affording that home.


I don't know if I would call the front insulting to the neighbors. There is an honesty about the inward focus of the home. Unfortunately, these "tract" home developments are still very focused on the automobile. I appreciate that it is not another hodgepodge of styles and like the modern approach. The raised courtyard is nice and is another indicator of the inward nature of the home.
So, I dig this design, but it may be just the lesser of two evils. Until we really are able to persuade the market that we need to be focusing on community design then developers will keeps building tract homes.

Ryan Zygar

i am happy to say. prototype is now a home. sold "close to asking" faster then the current average days on market. before our two other houses.

if you build cool stuff it will sell. go out there and make new things and think about it. we owe it to our selves.

this was a lot of fun and huge challenge and i appreciate all involved immensely.

Jim Heuer

It's exciting to see cutting edge architecture make some inroads into the world of mass production housing development. Today's housing tracts tend to embody the worst of faux traditional styling with the worst of mass produced materials and cookie-cutter, AutoCad-induced monotony of design.

Still, as you point out, it wasn't always such. But while you point to the ranch style era as the 20th Century's most notable period when vernacular housing adopted elements of cutting edge design, the key breakthroughs represented by the Ranch Style home actually arrived in the architecturally exciting era of the Craftsman Style 30 years previously.

In the first 15 years of the 20th Century, middle class Americans were searching for a new residential architecture that accommodated the enormous technology-driven lifestyle changes that were sweeping the country. The automobile, telephone, electric streetcar, electric appliances, and a host of other devices were transforming the way the middle class lived and worked... and the Victorian style houses of a previous generation were hopeless inadequate for the new age.

The pages of the "shelter" magazines of the day like The Craftsman and Ladies Home Journal were filled with articles by leading architects advocating for one or another concept of modern design. From this era sprang the elimination of the formal entry hall, the introduction of the "open plan" of interiors where living room, dining room, and sometimes kitchens flowed from one to the other with minimal barriers, and an emphasis on merging indoor and outdoor spaces.

These concepts were embraced eagerly by buyers who snapped up "ultra-modern" bungalows by the thousands all across Portland's east side as developers quickly embraced this "modern architecture" and adapted it for cost-conscious buyers.

Today, as we are surrounded by tens of thousands of Craftsman Style bungalows in Portland, their shear ubiquity blinds us to how revolutionary the embrace of modern architecture in that era really was. Some writers of the day railed against the vulgarity and cheapness of these new home styles and their rejection of "proper" Victorian and Colonial residential designs. More traditionally minded architects lamented the public's distraction by contemporary styles. Regardless of these critics, Portland's new home builders went from constructing 80% of their homes in Colonial and late Victorian Styles in 1904 to nearly 80% in Craftsman Styles and other versions of "Progressive Architecture" by 1910... a phenomenally rapid shift in adoption of a brand new architectural idiom.

Would that such an adventurous embrace of modern design might appear among modern home buyers. Perhaps it will if our society can somehow recapture that boundless faith in "progress" and "the modern" that encouraged those thousands of early 20th Century Portland home buyers to overthrow the dead hand of "traditional architecture".

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