M House aerial view
M House ground floor model

Two distinct forms characterize a new single family residence. A low box in the front contains the more social areas including the entry, kitchen, and majority of the main living space. Negotiating zoning rules, a two story house-form is positioned in the rear with its gable end oriented perpendicular to the street. The guest room and bath are located downstairs and the primary bedroom and bath are stacked above, reached by a cantilevered stair. The remainder of the house-form defines a double height area in the main living space. A transfer beam within the roof sandwich quietly marks the transition between the two forms and frames views towards the back of the house and the patio. On the east wall a large picture window is placed directly under the beam, subverting the weight of the loads above.

Following the contours of the site, a pair of continuous steps cut across the main living space and out through the patio, which occupies the remaining buildable area. The sectional shift establishes two distinct levels on the ground floor, pairing indoor and outdoor spaces based on respective elevations. A 45-ft operable glass wall connects the spaces and further underscores this pairing. Furniture and plants would migrate back and forth across the line of glass depending on the weather.

The key space making devices— the window wall, the continuous steps, and the two distinct overall forms— yield a character that is at once joint and discrete without being overly specific. Rather than functioning as lines of differentiation, their organization create a rich series of spaces unusual at this scale.

M House ground floor plan
Ground floor plan
M House second floor plan
Second floor plan
M House site
M House section model
M House view from patio
M House main space from above
M House elevations part 1
M House sections part 1
M House elevations part 2
M House sections part 2
M House roof off
M House wall details
Wall details
M House main space

Location: West Linn, Ore.
Project: 2007–2008
Client: private
Structural engineer: Haffner Consulting Engineering
Program: single family house
Area: 2,000 sq ft