Belluschi Home Tour

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modern home tour Belluschi catalogueThe Restore Oregon modern home tour featuring six houses and a church by Pietro Belluschi was a sellout success. As I was enjoying the tour and observing the crowd of visitors to each home it struck me just how generous each home owner was in agreeing to open their home for the event. Allowing hundreds and hundreds of people to visit your home and tour your property in one day (and a day of off and on rain at that) is testimony to the notion I have heard expressed by many owners of architectural properties: the idea that they do not consider themselves so much as owners but more as stewards of these properties. It was a real pleasure to experience the fruits of that stewardship and to have the experience of being surrounded by such expertly considered space.

One such very active steward is Pietro’s son Tony. Tony curated the tour for Restore Oregon and also gave a talk on Friday evening at the Portland Art Museum on his father’s life and practice. That talk was very well attended and provided an informative and close-up look at Pietro Belluschi’s life. Tony is an excellent speaker and presented a wealth of visual material. He is also now the owner and inhabitant of what had been his father’s residence in Portland, a house that Tony and his wife Marti have meticulously renewed and conserved at the same time.

modern home tour Belluschi photo

A last comment: in discussing what a modern house is and what the northwest regional style means and how you might define it, it is often said that a connection to the site is an important element. As one of the founders of the style, Belluschi would certainly have given this much thought. One of the real pleasures of seeing these houses as a group on Saturday was that each house has such a strong sense of place and the “place” is not the structure but a CONNECTION; a connecting of the structure and the landscape. These houses are all decades old; you know that each site is not what it was when the house was built. I tried to imagine what each site may have looked like when the house was commissioned and then considered what each site is like now. It is obvious that these landscapes have been deeply considered by the owners who have expended tremendous effort and love on them. It is interesting to ponder the idea that the house inspired the care taking of the landscape perhaps as much as the landscape inspired the design of the house.

DOCOMOMO and the Belluschi Pavillion

Also this weekend on Sunday May 11th, DoCoMoMo will is presenting Radical Restoration: Saving the Houses of Pietro Belluschi and Frank Lloyd Wright. A panel will discuss the nearly completed project or rescuing a Belluschi house by deconstructing it, putting the pieces in storage and then reconstructing it as a pavillion on the Marylhurst University campus. There will also be a presentation on the successful salvation of Frank Lloyd Wright's Gordon house. A tour of the Belluschi pavillion is included.


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