The future doesn’t look quite as exciting as I imagined. No flying cars. Disappointedly, fewer personal jet packs than expected. Our homes look less like George Jetson's and more like Fred Flintstone's what with all the granite and no-tech compost bins substituting for hungry dinosaurs. So I got pretty excited when I read about “advances in integrated home technology” at Mari Design. It sounds so space age fancy. What it means to the Portland company is that sales of their motorized shades and light control products are sky rocketing.
These were the Beatniks of housing. They turned their backs to society – and streets and neighbors – to focus on individual backyard havens. Walls of glass invited the outdoors in. Ceilings soared. Massive wood beams were left exposed. During the late 1950s through the early 1970s Robert Rummer built almost 1,000 such houses in the Portland metro area. At the time, many people were skeptical of the modern look, preferring the traditional formality of Colonials or the cozy familiarity of Arts and Crafts.
Robert Oshtaz designs unique residential and commercial buildings. The floating home he designed for Randy Fennell and Kazuyo Tojo on the Willamette River seems to be part of the water. A house he designed for another client appears to echo the trees around it. We talked to him about his design process.