Architect Herman Brookman’s midcentury modern home in SW Portland for sale at $3,450,000


Modern architecture appeared in Portland in the early 1930s, introduced by Herman Brookman and inspiring Pacific Northwest starchitects John Yeon, who trained in Brookman’s office, and others to make a statement using the fewest materials: native wood, rough brick and glass to draw in natural light.

Over Brookman’s 50-year career, he designed landmark buildings, mansions and cottages, as well as contributing to the Neo-Byzantine, 1928 Temple Beth Israel in Northwest Portland. Along the way, he perfected creating spaces with “Mad Men”-era swank.

A 1956 house Brookman designed in Southwest Portland’s Hillsdale neighborhood has a sunken living room and, in the den, a cocktail bar hidden behind folding wood doors. Clerestory windows under the pitched roofs draw in natural light while providing privacy.

Brookman positioned the sprawling dwelling on its elevated 0.8-acre lot at 3118 S.W. Fairmount Blvd. to take full advantage of the views from Hessler Hills: seven mountains and the Willamette and Columbia rivers.

Today, that residence is for sale at $3,450,000.

Listing broker Craig Weintz of Windermere Realty Trust told The Oregonian/OregonLive the “midcentury modern masterpiece” appeals to people who appreciate 4,418 square feet of single-level living and a lower level bonus and game room plus a wine cellar.

A wing of the house contains an office and the primary suite that overlooks an intimate courtyard.

“First time on the market in nearly 50 years,” said Weintz. “Immaculately updated and refreshed by Dennis Batke Architects and Karol Niemi Associates Interior Planning & Design.”

The hardscape and landscape were designed by Craig Kiest of Huntington & Kiest. A pool and patio decking are in the lower level backyard.

“You need to be onsite to have the full experience and feel of this home,” said Weintz.

Architect Herman Brookman

Herman Brookman, one of Portland’s most influential architects, was in demand before he even arrived from New York City in 1923. He came to design a 63-acre estate south of downtown Portland for M. Lloyd Frank of the Meier & Frank department stores. The brick Fir Acres manor, aligned on its axis with Mount Hood, is now the centerpiece of the Lewis & Clark College campus.

Brookman’s 1926 Menucha Retreat and Conference Center in Corbett inspired architects Pietro Belluschi and Yeon in their early modern residential projects, wrote Val Ballestrem of the Architectural Heritage Center in the online Oregon Encyclopedia.

Ballestrem added that Brookman’s “work has long been recognized as much for its artistry as for its design quality.”

Brookman’s highly livable modern homes prefigured the post-World War II ranch-style dwellings that dominated the 1950s and 1960s, according to historians who successfully campaigned to elevate the architect’s buildings onto the National Register of Historic Places.

— Janet Eastman

[email protected] | @janeteastman

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