Bowstring Truss House

Portland / United States / 2013

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10 Love 2,405 Visits Published

This private residence and studio was adapted from a 5,000 sf former warehouse and awning fabricator’s shop. The space is clear-spanned by a series of four bowstring trusses and exposed roof framing. The intent of the design was to maintain the vast trussed ceiling and the open floor plane, while inserting a flexible residential program where the clients could live and work. The result manages both scales simultaneously: a sense of the expanse of the entire structure as well as scaled discrete living areas.



A strategy was adopted for inserting the program into the shell in a loose arrangement of programmed “boxes“. We felt that the five trusses provided more than enough meter for the space. In order to allow a sense of the “whole”, a pixelated subset of elements could create a broad spectrum of both public and private spaces while never competing with the recognizable order of the roof.


A new environment was created; the resident couple occupy a space among the elements that support the home and studio, interior and exterior, a simplified terrain between earth and sky. A free pattern of new skylights create a constellation of light and discrete pools of sun. At the center of the house, the groundscape and the roofscape align to form a central courtyard—a vitrine of nature, and a vessel to capture the elusive Pacific Northwest light. The program begins as a whole then breaks apart; elements find their place like tectonic plates settling into stationary position. The gaps between the masses become discreet spaces residing in the absence. Rather than a cellular plan of defined function, the residents live among the elements.

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    This private residence and studio was adapted from a 5,000 sf former warehouse and awning fabricator’s shop. The space is clear-spanned by a series of four bowstring trusses and exposed roof framing. The intent of the design was to maintain the vast trussed ceiling and the open floor plane, while inserting a flexible residential program where the clients could live and work. The result manages both scales simultaneously: a sense of the expanse of the entire...

    Project details
    • Year 2013
    • Work finished in 2013
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Single-family residence / Interior Design / Building Recovery and Renewal
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