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A Cloepfil-Gragg Discussion, and A Visit To Allied Works' Macleay View House


On Monday night, in the second installment of Portland Spaces magazine's Bright Lights Discussion Series, editor Randy Gragg will be interviewing architect Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works.

Not only has Cloepfil's firm finally going to be working on a major Portland project again with PNCA's 511 Broadway building renovation, as well as a more modest rehab of the school's existing Pearl District space, but Allied Works also saw completion of a West Hills home with another on the way. Then there's the projects Allied has going in Denver, Dallas, New York and beyond.

The Macleay View House was unveiled several days ago at an opening party ("Whoa, is that Gus Van Sant?") thrown by the people behind this Cloepfil-designed speculative single-family house: Wieden + Kennedy executive creative director John Jay and his wife Janet, as well as builder-developer extraordinaire Don Tankersley, whose past work includes the magnificent Rick Potestio-designed Lair Condominiums, the Jays' own Pietro Belluschi-designed, Brad-Cloepfil-renovated/expanded house, and numerous other boutique projects around town by Potestio, architect Jeff Lamb, and others.

Lair I mention Don Tankersley also because, although the Macleay View House is unquestionably an Allied Works design, it also reminded me a little bit of the facade at the Lair Condos (pictured here) that Tankersley both developed and built from Potestio's design. The Macleay has a quite vertical feel, which is dictated mostly by the steep incline of its West Hills site and the expansive view it affords of Portland. At the same time, the interior of the house seems oriented around a series of stairway climbs from one level to another, wrapping a 32-foot atrium. The house also, as it happens, has an elevator.

I've heard it said that once an architect starts doing mostly institutional-scale work, as Allied is now, it's hard to go back to designing the much smaller single family home. Although there may be something slightly formal or a faintly institutional building feel here, overall Cloepfil and company pass with flying colors. The house is filled with gorgeous deep brown wood, a large central open kitchen, and an upper balcony covering the whole width of the house.

The Cloepfil-Tankersley partnership is also continuing with another Southwest Portland residence that's currently under construction for investor John Von Schlegell, which seems like it might be even more ambitious than the Macleay.

Meanwhile, Randy Gragg's discussion with Cloepfil will begin at 6PM at Jimmy Mak's, 221 NW 10th Avenue. Unlike when some of the club's esteemed resident jazz musicians take the stage, there is no cover charge. (Although believe me, Mel Brown and company are worth it.)

by Brian Libby, 2008

Published with permission of Portland Architecture

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