From Forest to Frame: Representation and Exception in the Regional Modernism of the Pacific Northwest

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Architectural Theory Review

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This essay examines how a small cottage built in 1915 on the Oregon coast became the Rosetta Stone of Pacific Northwest regional modernism. It places the historiographical project of regional modernism articulated in the 1970s alongside a history of timber in the region in order to understand how place was characterized, and designed, in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Timber history situates architecture within a broader network, including different species of trees, the soil in which they grow, the practices and ownerships to which they are subject, the mills that transform them into timber, the ships that carry logs to Asia, and the caprices of the residential housing market towards which much of the lumber industry is oriented. These material relationships expose a complicated assemblage of place that has defined the Pacific Northwest regional style.


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