This 1860 SF vacation house on the Gold Beach, Oregon coast can experience wind speeds of up to 100 mph.  The triangular structure points its prow-like nose out to sea and grabs ahold of its site with an exoskeleton of Port Orford cedar logs, inspired by the driftwood logs and debris found along the rocky shoreline.  These buttresses resist all lateral loads and negate the need for shear walls.

Architects: Obie G Bowman
Status: Built

The project consists of three main parts:  a house placed to capture views up and down the coastline, a freestanding garage placed to help block prevailing spring and summer winds, and an over-scaled wall placed to form a courtyard while visually screening a pair of distant neighbors to the east.  The wall, like the house, is braced against the wind with Port Orford cedar log posts and diagonal buttresses.  A bleacher-like arrangement of steps leads up to a flat roof on the garage that can be used as an elevated viewing platform on calm days. 1×6 cedar slats over cedar plywood on the building walls allow for seasonal expansion and contraction with no noticeable effect on the siding system.

The hypotenuse of the triangular living area is constructed of exposed framing serving as a library wall complete with industrial lighting and a portable rolling ladder.  Large sliding wall panels allow the bedrooms to open up to the living area for spatial relief as well as increased ocean views.  The cement board panels are stained with common garden fertilizers and set in a structural steel frame sealed with melted bees wax.

Cantilevered out towards the ocean is an elevated loft accessed via the portable ladder.  Excessive heat gain is controlled with tinted recessed glazing, interior shades, and a passive ventilation chimney located at the apex of the loft.  The glazing walls are connected to the exoskeleton with threaded pipe unions that can be expanded (by unscrewing) to keep the walls plumb as the logs shrink over time.


Obie G Bowman: The values Obie brings to his work come from his experiences as a youth growing up in the San Fernando Valley at a time when agriculture was the predominant sense of the landscape and the Los Angeles River was a vital source for learning about life and nature. Fascinated by the natural world, he grew up witnessing the complete replacement of the agrarian landscape with a continuous, desolate suburbanization and of the river with a concrete channel where people threw bottles and dumped shopping carts.  The trauma of this experience crystallized a personal paradox with which he has struggled ever since:  a desire to build and a need to work with the natural landscape.

With a series of site responsive houses Obie works with nature both visually and ecologically and has gained substantial insight into the how, where, when, and why of considerations like passive solar heating and cooling, daylighting, wind foiling, earth covered roofs, population control, and maintaining continuity with the natural environment.

1943                Born in Santa Monica, CA
1950                Moved to the San Fernando Valley
1959                Witnessed paving of the Los Angeles River
1961-67           Attended USC, UC Berkeley and ASU/ Bachelor of Architecture
1967-71           Apprenticed with Los Angeles architects
1971                Moved to Mendocino coast and started architectural practice
1973                Opened office at The Sea Ranch
1974                Licensed in California
1994                Opened second office in Dry Creek Valley
2008                Inducted into AIA Fellowship

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