Page D1.2 . 21 May 2003                     
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    Oregon Coast Boles House

    continued

    In this and many ways, the Boles house is about blurring the lines between inside and outside. Like the match between the coarse courtyard walkway and the smooth interior stone, there are other correspondences between the natural and human-made forms. For instance, a baseboard wall along one edge of the courtyard makes a fence from the adjacent house.

    Boles explains: "The wall carries into the house and almost becomes a piece of furniture that comes through the house." In addition, the exterior material is a tight-knot cedar that Boles had stained dark to blend with the spruce tree trunks just a few feet away. "Then the roof itself, the ceiling plank," Boles continues, "is expressed as a big cedar slab. That cedar goes out and becomes the eaves of that gilded plane. That forms another inside-outside material."

    The most dramatic use of natural material, however, is the wood wall paneling. Although the perimeter interior walls are finished in sheetrock, all the other walls in the house are lined with 1 by 3-inch (25 by 75-millimeter) boards. "That's really sort of an extension of the exterior fence and gate house," the architect says. "They're like pieces of furniture or objects that are in the landscape and come inside through that sheetrock shell and climb up through the house."

    This play of materials continues a tantalizing tightrope walk between the rugged natural materials and the smooth, precise manmade forms. Recalling Oriental architecture, the interior is at once serene and primal, clearly of the earth but achieving a subtle geometric poetry.

    The interior is decorated in a kind of plush minimalism, with sectional couches and sculptural chairs providing comfort without detracting from the pristine decor. Delicate shades of blue, gray, and white carry the day, bowing to the stained wood walls throughout. And yet this house's decor is not plain, thanks to the repeating rhythm of wood paneling.

    The Boles House was recently featured in a coffee table book commemorating Pacific Northwest beach houses, Coastal Retreats by Linda Leigh Paul. Since the book's publication, the architect has received several inquiries about designing more beach houses.

    Boles says BOORA's willingness and ability to tackle smaller projects such as these reflects the company's desire to remain nimble as a small, boutique practice, even as it enjoys the security and resources of a large corporate firm. He credits their ability to live in both worlds to the high proportion of firm principals: "That allows us to act like a group of small firms that share their resources."

    Boles recently completed another beach house at Neskowin and confesses he wouldn't mind trying his hand at residential architecture again — when he's not designing concert halls and college libraries. In the meantime, he and his wife look forward to every weekend they can spend in their northwestern home by the sea.

    Brian Libby is a Portland, Oregon-based freelance writer who has also published in Metropolis, The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, and Architectural Record.

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    ArchWeek Image

    Ground floor plan, Boles house.
    Image: BOORA Architects

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    Middle level floor plan.
    Image: BOORA Architects

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    Top floor plan.
    Image: BOORA Architects

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    Section facing north, Boles house.
    Image: BOORA Architects

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    Service elements that organize the space.
    Image: BOORA Architects

    ArchWeek Image

    View analysis: out to the ocean, in to the forest.
    Image: BOORA Architects

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    Elevations, Boles house.
    Image: BOORA Architects

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    Site plan.
    Image: BOORA Architects

     

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