Northwest Portland Residence
The combination of a steeply sloped site, a contributing resource within a historic district, and a historic design review process turned the request for creating a two car garage into a challenging design proposal. Compounding working with the site’s steep slope was the perpendicular steep slope of the sidewalk, street, and right-of-way that created cross slopes and drainage concerns. The property also has an existing historic basalt retaining wall approximately ten feet high simultaneously creating an imposing structure next to the sidewalk but bringing visual interest to the front of the property.
Concrete garages at the front of the property were common in the area when houses were first constructed in the early 1900s. The district guidelines also noted that garages are an integral part of the historic district. New materials were chosen to reference historic precedence and to be compatible with the historic main house and surrounding contextual properties. Careful attention was given to surveying the corner elevations of the lot so that accurate site grades could be determined in order to take advantage of set-back exemptions within the zoning code.
Overall the design celebrates simplicity of materials, minimizes the exposed portions of the structure, and respects the historic district by incorporating the basalt stone retaining wall as part of garage face. The roof of the structure is designed such that the owner can create an amenity deck for the basement apartment or a flat landscape area within the steep slope.