Central Oregon’s high desert region is a fascinating volcanic landscape bordered by jagged mountains and enormous flows of old lava. The area’s largest city, Bend, is also the site of a contemporary weekend escape designed by Portland–based Hacker Architects. Amidst the aromatic surroundings of manzanita and big sagebrush, the camouflaged structure pulls the outside in with extensive glazing, cleverly arranged views, and the ambiance of a cedar-clad interior.
"Our concept was about using different forms to edit and frame views of the landscape, so that the homeowners can become more aware of and connected to nature," says Corey Martin, a principal at Hacker. "The house is essentially a shell surrounded by a series of shifting planes that occur at different points in distance. Depending on the interior vantage point, sometimes the planes occur beyond the walls of the home, creating an indoor-outdoor sense of enclosure."
Yet, for Corey, the decision to choose Western Red Cedar was also personal. "I took a break from architecture at one point to be an artist, and during that time, I mostly carved wood," he explains. "I developed this really special relationship with cedar and discovered all of its amazing qualities—especially the grain and the way that it would carve. It was very profound. There's also something about it being regional material that draws me, and then there’s the fact that it's extremely durable, long-lasting, and beautiful all at the same time."
"Oftentimes I conceptually think about a building as being carved from the land," Corey continues. "In that sense, the interior of this home appears freshly cut and the exterior reads as weathered to express the idea that it was carved into by us to create the space. It’s the process of carving when I was doing art that I now bring to architecture. I think about space as being removed from a solid thing versus a series of objects placed."
As an eco-friendly and sustainably harvested product, the use of Western Red Cedar also supports efforts to regenerate natural landscapes and mitigate climate change. For every Western Red Cedar harvested at least three are replanted, and the manufacturing process produces less carbon emissions than other materials, such as brick, concrete, or composites.
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