Among the many problems of urban living in Portland, Oregon, are raccoons, deer, and falling trees. It’s not just that woods and forests persist inside the city limits but also the fact that a city was densely built amidst them. Despite such hazards, Stefan and Nicole Andrén built a sleek modernist loft nestled in trees atop a forested ridge that snakes behind the city’s downtown.
On the roof, amidst an array of native wild grasses and shrubs, six banks holding 180 small thermal solar collection tubes provide hot water year-round. This new technology, made by Apricus Solar Company, is less common than the flat solar plates often used for thermal heating.
When creative director Ben Watson and his partner, painter Claudio Tschopp, relocated from Basel, Switzerland, to Portland, Oregon, three years ago, they had been told about Portland’s Pearl District, a popular former industrial enclave now brimming with galleries, restaurants, and residential lofts. But the outskirts beckoned: “I decided that if I’m in Portland,” Watson recalls, “why not enjoy the essence of what the city is?”