Studio Field Trip: the Gordon House

This is the last one! After this I’ll quit posting so much, promise. 

Gordon House Intro

Located in Silverton, Oregon, the Gordon House is the only example of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s work in Oregon. Also, it is the first work by Frank Lloyd Wright that I’ve seen in person.

Designed in Wright’s Usonian period, the home is made with affordability in mind. It was originally located near the Willamette river, but has since been relocated 21 miles south. (Literally, the house was disassembled and moved on a massive truck to its current location and re-assembled).

Perhaps the most interesting design element you can see in the Gordon house is the horizontal lines that are carried out throughout the entire house. Wood boards become bricks then become some other horizontal element. Very cool.

Another interesting element are the plywood panels that sandwich glass. Above you can see the effect on the exterior, and below the effect on the interior.

They say the Gordon House contains the best kitchen Frank Lloyd Wright ever designed. It is the small double volume room with a skylight and is kinda awkward. I like it.

Gordon House Kitchen

One strange detail of the building is the extremely low ceiling height in certain places. Upon entering, the ceiling is at approximately 6’7″ above the finish floor. That leaves 4″ between the top of my head and the ceiling. VERY CLAUSTROPHOBIC. However, this creates the feeling of compression and release once you enter the double volume living room. Below you can see the second level corridor that connects the bedrooms.

Gordon House Bedroom Corridor

I liked the Gordon House. It reminded me a lot of my grandparents house, though I think that likely had to do with the building’s age. It seems as though, at the time, Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs were both cutting edge and visionary. Now it seems as though most of the “impressive” architectural elements included in this project are things that are considered standard for home design (double volume spaces, large living room, connection with nature, etc.). It still was an awesome opportunity to finally see a project by the Great American Architect in person and I recommend a visit to anyone living in or near Oregon.

And now, the money shot:

Gordon House Money Shot

With that, my desktop is clean. Now back to studio…

Oregon photos

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8 thoughts on “Studio Field Trip: the Gordon House

  1. David says:

    It sounds like you’ve hit all the easy high-spots! Next comes the not so easy ones.

    • ohdesignblog says:

      Haha yeah. If I can get away from studio I’ll need to hunt for something cool!

      • David says:

        Watch for opportunities to visit John Yeon’s Watzek House in Portland and his Shire, on the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge. The are both now owned by U of O. Also, check out any church by Pietro Belluschi, there is at least one in Eugene and one in Cottage Grove, just 20 minutes south of you. Several in Portland.

      • ohdesignblog says:

        Hey thanks David! I’ll be sure to hit all of those. You’re turning out to be a wonderful resource!

  2. Gaylen says:

    You’re making me want to go back to school just for the cool field trips, well, not really but I do wish I could have tagged along. Very nice.

    • ohdesignblog says:

      Haha, Just remember that this lovely field trip costs college tuition + 2 years of little sleep/social life. It really was a nice trip though. It would be an awesome tour to take when you come visit!

  3. Hello. I design the quarterly publication, Oregon Architect, for the AIA Oregon. We are running a short article on The Gordon House this issue and I found your photos online. May we use some of your photos? We will run a “Photos by …” line along with the photos. Just let me know what you want written in the credit line.

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