Alberta House front elevation
Alberta House back elevation

The residence is located in Portland’s Alberta neighborhood on a 60 x 100 ft lot that has a small bungalow on the property. The initial brief called for a substantial increase in the size of the existing house. However, we saw an opportunity in eschewing typical approaches to simply adding on. Instead of the existing house serving as the primary residence, we proposed that the original structure be used as an apartment and positioned a new and much larger single family residence above.

Maximizing the buildable width for the lot, the new residence provides a covered perimeter at the ground level that allows for a wide range of uses. Slender columns largely bear the additional vertical loads and minimized demands on the existing footings. The walls of the ground level apartment were strengthened to resist lateral forces. Since the building footprint remained unchanged, the generous space of the backyard was preserved.

The apartment is entered via a wide south-facing porch in the side yard. Within the unit, the social areas open onto the back. The primary residence is entered through a blank wall at the front. An entry and closet room lead to the upper floors and brought the apartment within the allowable area for accessory dwelling units. On the second level the social areas of the primary residence overlook the street through operable floor to ceiling windows. The bedrooms, baths, and laundry overlook the backyard.

Countering the openness of the front and rear facades, the side walls are left blank and offer privacy from neighbors and future development along the adjacent commercial strip. A roof deck and the owner’s suite are located on the top floor. Two blocks— one housing the bath and the other housing the closet— define the bedroom and adjacent study, giving an open ended character to the roof level. The deck looks out over NE Portland and the West Hills beyond.

Alberta House corner view
Alberta House patio detail
Alberta House ground floor plan
ground floor plan
Alberta House second floor plan
second floor plan
Alberta House third floor plan
third floor plan
Alberta House kitchen
Alberta House exploded axonometric
Exploded axonometric
Alberta House living room
Alberta House master bedroom
Alberta House study view
Alberta House roof deck

Location: Portland, Ore.
Project: 2014
Client: private
Program: single family house, accessory apartment
Area: 3,700 sq ft