fragmented wooden residence by pbw architects traces the vineyard hills of portland

Big Fir Vineyard unfolds its wooden plan on a sloping terrain

PBW Architects’ single-family residence ‘Big Fir Vineyard’ nestles on the hills of a designated wine grape-growing region in the Willamette Valley just outside of Portland. The topography and agricultural plan of the site inform the design of the small home that both takes in the surrounding landscape and becomes a part of it. The fragmented wooden form of the structure traces the sloping terrain as the roof shape mimics the incline of the site. Indoor-outdoor elements visually extend the interior spaces toward the newly planted vineyard, while the plan is oriented to harmonize with the rows of vines.

fragmented wooden residence by pbw architects traces the vineyard hills of portland
the newly planted vineyard deeply informs the design of the house | all images by Andrew Pogue Photography

the home’s structure aligns with the contours of the site

The shape of the home is derived from both the slope of the land and the linear overlay of the vines. The design team at PBW Architects draws from these two patterns, the topography, and the vine rows, to outline the form, and sets them at 45 degrees to each other, with the grapevines planted on a four-foot interval running north to south, the optimal sun orientation for growing.

The main axis of the home is aligned along the site’s contours and on the vineyard pattern’s bias, allowing for varied views of the cascading vineyard below. Connection to the vineyard is emphasized with angled adjustments to the plan. At the edge of the steepest slope, the main bedroom is turned to look down through the rows of vines. The foot of a custom bed frame sits flush against the wall, with a large operable window that gives the sensation of sleeping outdoors. The vineyard pattern frames the basis for two notches in the floor plan. One forms the main entry vestibule, along which a three-sided wood-burning fireplace becomes the centerpiece of the living area. The other notch is an inward cut that subtly separates the living area from the kitchen-dining and creates additional bench seating on both the interior and exterior. 

fragmented wooden residence by pbw architects traces the vineyard hills of portland
Big Fir Vineyard’s dining pavilion perches above the rows of vines

To mitigate heat from the intense summer sun, clerestory windows on the southern facade and translucent panels above the outdoor pavilion filter light while still keeping the space bright. Board and batten cedar siding takes a note from the agrarian region and forms a screen around the home, tempering sunlight in the interior workroom. The siding provides privacy to the shower in the main bathroom, which opens completely to the outdoors. Additional shading is brought to the site by the planted trees, especially the large oak tree in the center of the circular driveway.

fragmented wooden residence by pbw architects traces the vineyard hills of portland
indoor spaces extend to the outdoor area to connect the structure with its surrounding landscape

materials and textures echo the surrounding natural landscape

Materials are carefully chosen to blend in and echo the surrounding landscape on both the exterior and interior. Concrete floors are tinted with color to match the Jory soil of the area, while cedar beams, milestone plaster walls, and dark soapstone countertops reflect the colors of the site. Multiple patios step down along the slope of the land, guided by wood screens and colored concrete retaining walls. The outdoor pavilion develops as a gathering place for dining amongst the vines featuring a large outdoor fireplace. Big Fir’s multi-layered spaces are at once independent from each other and yet fully integrated, imitating the rows of individual grapevines joining together.

fragmented wooden residence by pbw architects traces the vineyard hills of portland
multiple patios step down along the slope of the land

fragmented wooden residence by pbw architects traces the vineyard hills of portland
translucent panels allow light to pass through while reducing extreme summer heat

fragmented wooden residence by pbw architects traces the vineyard hills of portland
the fireplace generates a cozy atmosphere in the outdoor living room that overlooks the hills beyond

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