14.12.2021

Divine House

The Divine House overlooks a dramatic bend on the McKenzie River outside of Eugene, Oregon. The house has a simple rectangular footprint and a gable roof with deep overhangs. It is directly organized down the centerline of the plan below the ridge.

The northern half contains the smaller, more cellular programs— the carport, entry, guest room / study, bathroom, and primary bedroom. The southern half is entirely open and includes the living and dining areas, kitchen, and adjoining covered deck. The width of the rooms and generous depth of the overhangs was based on winter solar gains and the maximum length of local Douglas fir members.

The interior spaces are defined by a series of ‘solid’ volumes, which allow for multiple routes and notably free movement throughout. Contained within this poché are densely configured storage areas, mechanical spaces, the laundry area, and bath. The positioning of these volumes reinforces the organization at the ridgeline and establishes the distinct spatial character of the two halves of the plan. Sightlines were developed to provide a range of views both within and through the house and give an immediacy to the grounds without undercutting desired privacy. Conceived as part of the main living room, a large hardwood deck extends out towards the river and will weather to a silver grey. The deck, which covers the same area as the house proper, works in tandem with the interior spaces to expand the field.

The material palette and methods of construction are direct and robust. The most prominent feature— the roof— is raw corrugated aluminum installed over a grid of battens, which also function as outriggers on the gable ends. Downspouts were omitted and rainwater comes directly off the roof corners, collected below grade and in a catch basin under the deck. Siding is black pine-tarred cedar over a fully vented counter-batten assembly. They are furnished in full lengths and key precisely into the building geometry. The interior is constructed in a similar fashion, but with plain-sawn white oak boards finished in a simple hard wax. A lowered array of ceiling joists gives intimacy to the spaces and conceals the beams at the ridge and the headered conditions along the north and south facades. The effect of suppressing the principal structure through this fur down focuses the view out towards the landscape and, in concert with the storage volumes, gives the interior a strong sculptural quality, all enveloped in a single material.

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