Take a Trip Through the Pacific Northwest With 10 Modern Spaces

Take a Trip Through the Pacific Northwest With 10 Modern Spaces

A strong creative streak runs through the Pacific Northwest, which has recently led to a number of startups popping up in cities such as Portland, which has become one of the nation’s hottest urban economies.
Text by

Here, we venture into the region's major cities—Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, and beyond—to see how architecture is flourishing in this milieu.

1. Vanglo House in Vancouver

Vanglo selected this abandoned site within Vancouver's Mount Pleasant neighborhood to design a home that sets the tone for conscientious development. This award-winning home includes green development materials and processes.

Perched over a cliff face, the hooded deck of the Gambier Residence reads like a ship’s prow over Howe Sound, the scenic waters near Vancouver.

Scott & Scott Architects designed an outdoorsy Vancouver family’s dream cabin.

In Vancouver’s Strathcona district, two side-by-side lots now hold seven residences—thanks to a thoughtful renovation of a pair Edwardian houses and the addition of a laneway, or alley, building by Shape Architecture. The team salvaged as much 120-year-old siding as they could for use on the street-facing facades.

A 7,000-square-foot warehouse in the city’s industrial North Portland neighborhood plays host to Beam & Anchor and its equally expansive inventory of goods.

The triangle is this home’s leitmotiv, appearing in the cantilevered bedroom module and the steps approaching the entrance. "It’s grown-up Legos," says Kaja Taft, describing her modular prefabricated house in Northeast Portland, designed by Jeff Kovel of Skylab Architecture. 

Jessica Helgerson Interior Design, with project manager and lead designer Emily Kudsen Leland at the helm, remade a Portland abode with a crisp paint palette: Benjamin Moore’s Wrought Iron for the cladding and Venetian Gold for the front door. Landscape design is by Lilyvilla Gardens.

For Seattle architects Matt Wittman and Jody Estes, the slow road to upsizing really paid off.
Facing rising housing costs downtown, they traded an apartment for a small house in a gritty neighborhood, sensing promise in a deep, skinny lot with a scrap-filled yard. A crushed stone perimeter fills in the carport and steps to the courtyard. Wittman explains: "We wanted to continue the blurring of Japanese landscape design with modernists like Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright."

"The house turns its back to the street while opening up to the views to the northeast through a large glazed corner window system," Hutchison says. One-by-four and one-by-six inch cedar siding, which were pre-stained in Cabot Semi-Transparent Black, were placed vertically and horizontally on the exterior as a subtle detail.

In Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, Heliotrope Architects and Dovetail General Contractors teamed up to create a spacious 3,953-square-foot residence with simple forms and defined functions. A cedar-clad front facade features one of the home’s defining design elements: a cantilevered gable that appears to float over the garage. The project is composed of two unique forms, divergent in convention but complementary in execution.  


Last Updated


Get the Dwell Newsletter

Be the first to see our latest home tours, design news, and more.