Thursday, December 1, 2011

Portland River House Renovation 2

The interior of this riverfront home in Portland was designed to display the client's eclectic art collection that included brightly colored paintings and prints. Neutral wall colors with rich wood cabinetry and a bronze fireplace chimney compliment the dramatic artwork. Fortunately the house faces north providing abundant north light for viewing the collection. Interior design was done by Rose Capestany of RCI Interiors, Seattle, Washington.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hawaii House 2

Plan © 2010 MCM Architects ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Designed to sit on a steep hillside overlooking the ocean, this home has large open terraces looking out to the ocean view on one side and a rich shaded water garden environment on the opposite that is protected from the wind. Each room is a separate building linked by covered walkways that travel along an inner waterway that has a lush rock garden backdrop. Two Bali's sit in the waterway as places to get away to read or nap in the cool shade. The linear plan is organized with the living room in the center and rooms for the owner on one side, and areas for guests on the other. Downstairs on the owner's side (not shown) is a personal gym and wine storage/tasting grotto, downstairs on the guest side are additional guest rooms.

The roofs are designed to be a large umbrella over the home. A continuous row of horizontal windows and/or louvers elevate the roof off the walls, emphasizing the open air quality of the house, as well as providing natural ventilation. The structure is post and beam with modular wood paneling infill. Ceilings have bamboo matting inset between rafters. Local lava rock is used as a base to the building as well as for freestanding walls that block the view into the house from uphill neighbors.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Casa di Sogni D'oro

Main Floor Plan © 2011 MCM Architects All Rights Reserved

Upper Level Floor Plan © 2011 MCM Architects All Rights Reserved

Clients sometimes ask for a Mediterranean style house in the Islands, as the client did for the above design. This style is actually well suited for an Island environment. The white stucco walls, the tile floors, the tile roofs, the courtyards and the loggias often seen in Mediterranean buildings are also very sensible to use in the Caribbean. Tile floors can survive the torrential downpours than can flood indoors and out. The concrete walls resist bug infestation. The white walls reflect heat and the non combustible tile roofs are a plus in areas with limited fire departments. The architectural elements of courtyards and colonnaded loggias adapt well to open plans preferred in tropical living.

The design above uses a formal linear axis around which to organize the plan. The entry sequence to the house has been laid out so that as you approach and enter the house your view is always focused out to the turquoise sea. You get glimpses through to water as you enter first the courtyard and then the rotunda, with the full dramatic impact of the oceanfront setting unveiled as you step out onto the open loggia which also overlooks the pool. A cross axis provides access to other parts of the house with the upstairs as the private domain of the owners with roof deck complete with sun beds and spa. Two guest houses separate from the main house provide privacy for owner and guest alike.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Island House Plan 8

Main Level Plan
Upper Level Plan

The wrap around veranda has often been used in tropical climates because it captures and channels the wind into the building, as well as shelter open doors and windows from the driving rain. This design is a very simple layout with all rooms having doors on two sides to facilitate natural cooling. The downstairs has public spaces while the upstairs is for the family, with three bedrooms and private sitting areas. Two independent guest suites connected to the downstairs veranda provide very private guest accommodations. The open column, rail and fretwork of the exterior can be filled in with rolling shades or folding louver panels depending on the wind orientation and sun exposure.

This is a very open house where the symmetry and uncomplicated plan layout create a very relaxing and casual indoor outdoor environment for Island living.

A reduced size version of this plan can be seen here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Villa Cielo

This Island villa design is a tower surrounded by a wide wrap around covered terrace. The tower has basically one room or function per floor. This allows each room to have three view exposures and to facilitate natural flow through ventilation for cooling. Two separate out buildings flank either side; one a staff, laundry and storage building, another a guest suite with it's own entry so it can be used independently. The major living areas for this house are outside under cover. An indoor kitchen with dining area area is available for retreat during stormy weather, as is a library media room on the second floor that can also function as a guest bedroom.

While the building will be very formal and dramatic when approached on the entry side, once inside the spaces will be very relaxed and casual, gradually opening up to the sea and sky.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Creating Neighborhood, Russellville Commons

©MCM Architects 2011 All Rights Reserved

Creating a neighborhood oriented around a linear series of park blocks was our design goal in for the Russellville Commons project in Portland, Oregon. The project has about 500 units on a 12 acre site. What is unique about this design is that rather than designing a typical apartment project surrounded by and accessed from a series of large parking lots, we actually introduced a public street grid, with on street parking, onto the super block site, organizing the streets around central park blocks. This not only connected the project with the surrounding neighborhood it provided organization and structure to an apartment project that had over 25 separate buildings. Parking lots were placed behind the buildings and connected by landscaped pedestrian walkways to the main park blocks and new streets. The building and unit entries orient to either the new streets or to the park blocks, which in turn connect to Portland's light rail system.

The public spaces and streets are shared by a diverse cross section of people because the project includes regular rental apartments, senior living apartments and assisted living units. So rather be isolated in buildings surrounded by parking lots, the residents of Russellville Commons, of all ages, participate in creating a true neighborhood.