It is not often that you come across architects who translate architecture into a piece of art, almost poetic. Robert Harvey Oshatz, an architect based in the USA with an experience of over forty years has extensively worked on Organic Architecture. Having worked at the FLW Studio in his initial years, he has learned the tricks of the trade from the master. He looks at design as a problem-solving mechanism that balances the resources and desires of the client and the essence of the context. 

The ‘Art of the Architect’ lies in the manner in which he combines the structure, architectural forms, interior spaces, and the environment into an indistinguishable whole. His projects built across five states of USA and Japan resonate with his philosophy that ‘architecture must be at peace with its environment while the user is at peace within’.

Below is the list of 15 Projects by Robert Harvey Oshatz:

1. Chenequa Residence

Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Project Year: 2011 

The Chenequa Residence spirals out from a central core, interacting with every parallel of its environment. The natural material palette masks the house as a part of the forest. The radial plan of the house is a series of center points that harmoniously relate to one another as well as align with the contours of the site. The inside is seamless flow spaces that continually establish newer connections to the lake and forest.

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2. Wilkinson Residence 

Location: Portland, Oregon
Project Year: 2004
Area: 4230sq.ft

The Wilkinson Residence is built in two levels with the main level sitting on highly sloping terrain amidst the tree canopies of woods in the Pacific Northwest. The walls of glass, use of a natural material palette, and continuity of material from inside to outside blend the house and its context into a seamless whole, both visually and experientially. The organic curves shape the open plan of the house and infuse it with natural light.

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3. Fennell Residence 

Location: Portland, Oregon
Project Year: 2005

The Fennell Residence, reflective of the numerous personas of a river, is amusingly not ‘by’ but ‘on’ the Willamette River. The glue-laminated beams curve to support the ceiling that becomes walls and walls that become the ceiling, never-ending, and poetic. The organic curved form of the house is supported by an efficient floor plan that suits the users. The glazing reflects the sky like the river and functionally connects the users to the outside, making it almost sculptural. 

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4. Miyasaka Residence 

Location: Obihiro, Hokkaido, Japan
Project Year: 1998

A distinct blend of Japanese and Western cultures, the Miyasaka Residence is a physical affirmation of the clients’ modern and spiritual needs. The radial plan and complex geometry is artfully blended with the intricately landscaped garden. The functions of the house are placed per the requirement of natural light at different times of the day and the concept of Feng Shui. 

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5. Panet Raymond Beach House

Location: Pacific City, Oregon
Project Year: 2006

The house is a weekend retreat for a family of four that responds to its context and climate in totality. Located on a tightly packed sandy terrain, the house efficiently manages to feature seclusion and bring in light. The street elevation is rendered solid to maintain privacy while the east features ceiling to floor arched glazing that floods the interiors with views of the ocean and deflects the sand towards the side to reduce build-up. 

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6. Doctor’s Residence

Location: Salem, Oregon
Project Year: 1992

The house is a physical manifestation of the clients’ desire for a barrier-free space that is infused with beautiful views of the valley it overlooks. The house is planned on a single level as a series of circles organically interconnected to provide for an uninterrupted flow of spaces. The curved walls instill the interiors with ample natural light creating a sense of warmth to the homecoming patients. 

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7. Weiss Residence 

Location: West Linn, Oregon
Project Year: 2004

Weiss Residence, a striking piece of architecture in its streetscape, denounces the authentic style of Oshatz. Designed as an affordable residence on a steeply falling site, the remarkable use of rigid geometry and detailed façade makes it look just otherwise. The provision of a rectangular deck on the street face reduces the scale of the three-story house and encourages interaction with neighbors. The split eaves roof allows for ample natural light in the house. 

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8. Elk Rock Residence

Location: Lake Oswego, Oregon
Project Year: 1989

Anchored to a hillside with steep gradient, the Elk Rock Residence seems to float in space, instigating both the contradictory feelings together. The complex form of the house accommodates rather spacious interior spaces at three levels (half split to form six levels). The living and dining spaces located on the uppermost level open out to mesmerizing views of the Willamette River, Mt.Hood, and the rising sun. 

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9. Mt. Crested Butte

Location: Crested Butte, Colorado
Project Year: 1987

Locally known as ‘Snow Clam’, the Residence at Mt. Crested Butte is built in a ski resort at an elevation of 10,000 feet and owned by two carpenter brothers. The steep slope allows for the house to be organized at multiple half levels surrounding a central shaft that vertically supports the house and accommodates the fireplace on the inside. 

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10. Rosenthal Residence 

Location: Portland, Oregon
Project Year: 1984

Rosenthal Residence is planned as a cross-axis with the minor axis functioning as a clerestory. The main axis is supported by a shaft that vertically composes the house with the tall fir trees around. The detailing of material, earthy color palette, and the intricate wrought-iron screens at the windows give the house a distinct aesthetic appeal while putting it at ease with its natural setting. 

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11. Junction City Residence

Location: Junction City, Oregon
Project Year: Ongoing

The proposed residence is sited on a gently sloping site that accommodates the home and artist studio of the client. The elevated roof supported by cantilevering beams brings in plenty of winter sunlight in the living areas while shunning the harsh summer sun. The use of concrete, wood, and steel on both the inside and outside binds the house into a unified whole.

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12. Rayleigh Woods Apartment 

Location: Portland, Oregon
Project Year: 1972

Rayleigh Woods Apartment, a 17-unit complex denounces the concept of high-rise ‘apartment living’ today. The continuous structure that facilitates the parking and segregates the public walkway and semi-private courtyards rises with the inclined landscape. The colors and wood textures of the exterior create an idiosyncratic blend with the surrounding forest.

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13. Stevens/Harnell Residence 

Location: Studio City, California
Project Year: 1986

The idea of the four-story Stevens residence lays immense emphasis on views of the valley. The living room at the uppermost level is raised 35ft above the street and cantilevered 28ft from the main structure to experience the valley in totality. The rear side of the house is harbored into the hill and features an open courtyard. 

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14. Diamond Park Shopping Center

Location: Beaverton, Oregon
Project Year: 1978

The project is conceptualized to appeal to both the pedestrians and vehicular viewers, considering its location on a major commercial street of Beaverton. The 22000 sq.ft. building is planned as a series of interlocking diamond shapes which is also reflective in its angular façade. The shifting patterns of the metal roof and siding creates a dynamic experience.

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15. C.A. Bright Tower

Location: Portland, Oregon
Project Year: 1978, unbuilt

The C.A. Bright Tower was proposed as a thirty stories high mixed use tower. With the formal entry placed four-story above the street, the ground level was rendered column-free. This provided for a colossal urban public space with 20,000 sq.ft of retail shops surrounding a central reflective pool. 

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