When you go about your life as a Portlander, how often do you consider the historical context of the buildings you walk among? Perhaps it crosses your mind when some detail catches your eye. If you do notice, what is it that you note? That design detail you want to remember, a passing thought to research more about art deco or an aesthetic corner for an opportune self-portrait? The great nuance of architecture is that unless you are an intentional fan, the name of the creator is nowhere to be found, and often overlooked.
On just that note, the architect I’m sharing with you today has, in no small way, made his mark on the face of Portland. Have you ever visited the World Forestry Center, sent your children to Lakeridge, or Central Catholic High School? Attended the Oregon College of Art & Craft – closing as I write this? John Storrs is the name responsible, a transplant with that love of Oregon we see on the faces of so many that come here.
Native of Connecticut and Yale graduate, Storrs uprooted his life and moved to Portland after hearing a talk by the infamous Pietro Belluschi. He got his big break in the form of a commission to design the Portland Garden Club in Goose Hollow (pictured below).
His projects have covered a broad spectrum of architecture and he has famous Oregon wineries, schools, lodges and private residencies to his credit. Storrs utilized the use of a lot of wood in his designs, fondly calling it, “an understandable, romantic material.” His innovative designs and planning approach contributed significantly to the Northwest Regional Style and Portland certainly wouldn’t look the same without him. Perhaps his best-known structure (pictured at top) is the Salishan Lodge, located on the Oregon Coast. He remained in Portland for the rest of his life with his wife Frances, and four children. Enjoy examples of this formative architects work below, and learn more about John Storrs here and here.
Lakeridge High School
Caitlin Gable School
World Forestry Center
Marisa Swenson – Specializing in Rummer Home Sales