March 30, 2016

Photo Tour: The Burkes-Belluschi House in Portland, Oregon

It’s somewhat unusual for an architect to purchase a house he or she originally designed for a client. But Pietro Belluschi, a pioneering Pacific Northwest Modernist, was not a typical architect.

The subject of a feature story in the Spring 2016 issue of Preservation magazine, Pietro designed a wood, glass, and stone residence for Clint and Genevieve Burkes in the late 1940s. He bought the Portland, Oregon, house about 25 years later, and his architect son Tony and daughter-in-law Marti now live there. They’ve lovingly restored and renovated it, often opening it up to the local community.

“In Portland there is some appreciation for Midcentury Modernism, and it’s growing, but it could be bigger,” says Judith Sheine, professor and department head at the University of Oregon’s architecture school. “It’s great that Tony wants to use his background, experience, and family heritage to promote not only his father’s legacy but modern architecture in general.”

Tony Belluschi has spent most of his career designing large mixed-use and retail buildings, and he reveled in working on the 2,500-square foot house, to which he added a 750-square-foot guest suite and a separate 235-square-foot outbuilding.

“I learned about color, scale, proportion, and materials from my dad,” he says. “All these things are basic tenets of good design that speak to every project. They’re just as important in small buildings as big buildings; every square inch counts.”

Meghan Drueding is the managing editor of Preservation magazine. She has a weakness for Midcentury Modernism, walkable cities, and coffee table books about architecture and design.

@mdrueding

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