The Departure Lounge, Doug Fir Restaurant and Lounge, and the Hoke (Twilight) House have enriched the landscape and experiences of us Portlanders, and all brought to us by Jeff Kovel of Skylab Architecture. On a recent speaking engagement, Mr. Kovel shared a bit about his background and his particular approach to architecture.
Inspired by a modern home his parents buitlt in the 80's, Jeff knew architecture would be his career. A visit to any of his designs will demonstrate to you what Jeff means when he says his work is "serious play." With the Doug Fir, there is a blend of styles informed by the northwest frontier and the modern aesthetic. The Departure Lounge is more Miami than Portland. The entryway is a long dark corridor, and gives a start contrast when it opens to an airy, bright interior and chic rooftop bar. The Hoke House was a spec home, purchased immediately by a Nike executive. The home is a lovely juxtaposition between nature and strong modern lines. Featured in the Twilight movie, the home will probably influence the taste towards modern for millions of people. And perhaps a few of them will become architects as well.
Among other current projects, Skylab is working with prefabricated housing, creating designs that can be customized depending on owner's budget. The homes are made of building blocks, known as modules that can be "played with" in various configurations. Another example of what Jeff calls "building stories with materials," it looks like Skylab will keep us challenged and amused for years to come.