Acclaimed Architect Risa Boyer Reinvents Indoor/Outdoor Living

Acclaimed Architect Risa Boyer Reinvents Indoor/Outdoor Living

By Lucy Wang
Having recently celebrated her firm’s 10th anniversary in Portland, Oregon, Risa Boyer is wholly invested in her local AIA chapter and the city’s ethos of sustainable architecture.

Guided by the belief that good design can happen with any budget, Risa of the award-winning boutique practice Risa Boyer Architecture has tackled projects both large and small, from midcentury-modern renovations to energy-efficient, mixed-use developments.

Risa Boyer is one of our judges for the Best of Design 2018 Awards. Be sure to cast your vote—community voting is open from November 1-26.

Her journey into architecture started at a young age, when her mother fleshed out Risa’s childhood interest in design magazines and beautiful buildings with trips to Frank Lloyd Wright exhibits and gifts of architecture books. 

Convinced of a future in architecture by the age of 10, Risa went on to earn her Bachelor of Architecture at the California College of Arts and Crafts (now California College of the Arts) and, in 2006, launched her full-service architecture firm in Los Angeles before moving her practice north to Portland in 2008.

After having featured some of her exquisite projects, we're now honored to have Boyer serve as a judge for Dwell’s inaugural Best of Design Awards. Scroll on to see a sampling of her work.

Makers Row

Flooded with natural light, Makers Row is a new mixed-use building in Northeast Portland that combines 19 apartments with ground-floor commercial space in a highly energy-efficient envelope.

In Portland's leafy Mt. Tabor neighborhood, this renovation project involved modern upgrades to a midcentury-modern home.

The house was dramatically opened up with the addition of a vaulted living room ceiling and walls of glass.


This remodel of a split-level, midcentury-modern home includes a reorganized layout for better circulation.

Good design is timeless but innovative, aesthetically pleasing, and engaging. In architecture, good design happens when the design of buildings or spaces respond to their surroundings and enhance the people’s lives who inhabit them. 

—Risa Boyer


The retrofit of this Portland midcentury-modern home takes inspiration from Richard Neutra, Saul Zaik, and John Yeon.

The dark wood floors were replaced by light-colored terrazzo that gives the interiors a brighter feel.


Located in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, Davis is a compact, two-story home that features reclaimed hardware and fixtures in a contemporary setting.

An inside peek of the Davis House. As a full-service firm, Risa's practice also handles interior design.

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