Bridge + Utility Buildings

Wilsonville, Oregon

As a third generation Oregonian, our client has an inherent love of the land. We have enjoyed a 20-year collaboration experimenting in form, landscape and art integration. Every architect secretly dreams of designing a bridge, so the client’s need to link the east and west portions of the site through the native topography was a welcome design challenge.

In collaboration with our structural engineer and contractor, we created two concrete and stone embankments, and a meandering pier supported boardwalk, leading to a central span over a deep creek bed. Using a ‘king-pin’ style steel truss for the main span allowed the bridge to be a streamlined form through the landscape.

Buildings on the site have evolved in an organic agrarian fashion, as needed. Inspired in part by Donald Judd’s work in Marfa, Texas, these buildings are simple in form and material and create environments for all of the utility functions of the property. The building and courtyard enclosure support work – landscape maintenance, greenhouse, staging for extensive planting, terra cotta inventory and staff gatherings. The Site Garage is a barnlike structure, which houses various 2 and 4 wheel vehicles. Secondary sheds house a central kitchen for daily cooking and gathering, and client office / library areas.

Sited carefully to read as if they had always been there, several iconic sculptures designed by the august Oregon sculptor Lee Kelly, populate the property. The client’s long relationship with Mr. Kelly has resulted in our collaboration of fabrication, key placement and the shaping of the supporting architectural environment for viewing, as one discovers them during a journey around the site.