The Courtyard House


Tucked into a hillside in the west hills outside Portland, Oregon, this house blends interior and exterior living. 

With a beautiful, hilltop site, our design approach was to take advantage of the natural surroundings and views over the landscape, while keeping the architecture from dominating the site. We semi-submerged the main floor of the house while carving outdoor living areas into the hillside. This protected courtyard extends out from the interior living spaces to provide year-round access to the outdoors. 

Large windows and sliding glass doors reinforce the connection to nature, while a large, open, great room contains the living room, dining area, and kitchen. The main floor contains the master bedroom with en-suite bathroom and outdoor shower, allowing for the clients to gracefully age in place. A second bedroom and guest suite are located on the second level. 

Materials include natural cedar rainscreen siding on the main level, Equitone panels on the two story section, polished concrete floors, and a variety of water features, native plantings and permeable pavings in the courtyard. The retaining walls of the courtyard are envisioned as gabion walls. We are also exploring radiant floor heating, rainwater catchment systems, and Faswall insulated blocks for some of the walls to provide thermal mass.