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Portland, Oregon - 2005

The Fennell Residence presented a unique challenge as the site was “on” the Willamette River as opposed to “by” the river. The project is focused on the poetry of the ripples and contours of the river, it’s never ending flow, the view, and the interrelationship concerning the play of the sun and moon as it courses through the days of the year. Curved glue laminated beams were used to capture the timeless sense of flowing water and time passing to imbue the space within and its relationship with the river creating a spiritual and poetic sense of space.

The Fennell Residence belongs on the water; if it were built anywhere else it would make little sense. Whether it is the undulating forms, which seem to follow the ebb and flow of the water or the expanse of glazing that throws back a reflection of the sky just as the water beneath it does The Fennell Residence dissolves into the river.

From first impressions the building is poetic; its undulating section creates a form that is highly sculptural, yet this is a rational building. The floor plans are crisp and logical, with obvious consideration being given to their use, and the materials have been carefully considered to convey a sense of warmth and comfort. More surprisingly however is that the fluid forms that appear on the exterior are the simple reflection of the spaces within. The interior spaces are designed ultimately to function in a way that brings happiness to the occupant. Curves are used to create cohesive spaces with walls become ceilings and ceilings changing back into walls, while changes and breaks in the curves are used to create penetrations and openings where desirable. All curvature of the primary glued laminated beams is drawn from an identical radius interpreted differently throughout the structure, and although not immediately obvious it gives the building a logical and cohesive proportion.

With its fluid forms and rational planning, its logical proportions and emotive materials the Fennell is a structure that is at peace with nature while the occupants are at peace within. But it is the ability of the building to fit into its environment while allowing the occupants to connect with the outside from within the protection of the home that makes this building so unique.