GRAY Award winners were revealed live during the Awards Party on November 20, 2019, at The National Nordic Museum in Seattle, and published in GRAY magazine No. 49.
Located in Dundee, the heart of Oregon’s wine country,
Furioso Vineyards spent its first years as a series of disconnected utilitarian structures scattered across a 10-acre site dominated by Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapevines. The assemblage included a steel shed that held the winery, several storage facilities, an outdoor crush pad, and a residence, each built in different styles of disparate materials. When its owners called on Portland’s Waechter Architecture to help them reimagine the property, their goal was to create a unified identity that would celebrate the surrounding countryside. “Our approach was to reimagine the elements of the estate, giving each a distinct and focused identity while expanding their relationships, to heighten the viewer’s experience of the landscape and the wine-making process,” reads the firm’s GRAY Awards submission. “In the new design, these elements elegantly work together to create distinct complementary atmospheres of their own.”
Waechter Architecture first expanded the existing winery and cladded it with a vertical 2-by-2-inch blackened cedar screen. During the day, the building appears dense and solid, but at night,
an interior illumination system backlights the slats, imbuing the building with an ethereal glow. Just feet from the winery, a new glass-encased tasting room is positioned at the edge of the grape rows, giving guests the feeling of hovering above and within the vines. A loggia between the tasting room and winery doubles as a crush pad during harvest season, which puts the winemaking processes on full display. Uniting the two sections is a bold roof made of 6-inch-thick corrugated metal that cantilevers over the building and shades the glass tasting room in the hot summer months. As the firm writes, “Like each new piece of the winery, the floating roof seamlessly integrates functional challenges into a simple yet iconic design.”
Richmond So Engineers
Date of completion:
High Desert Residence
The Hacker–designed High Desert Residence is not for the faint of heart. Located outside Bend, Oregon, where jagged mountains and cinder cones tower over the desolate landscape and the sky sometimes rains golf ball-sized hail or drops enough snow to collapse roofs, the four-bedroom home is an adventurous weekend getaway for one Oregon couple and their extended family. “There is a freshness to the landscape and an aroma in the air that cannot be found anywhere else in the world,” the Portland-based firm writes in its submission.
High Desert Residence’s angular cedar, steel, and glass exterior is a dramatic contrast to its chaparral-covered site. Large floor-to-ceiling windows interspersed with cedar planks compose the home’s façade and grant residents wide views of land and sky from each room, a design that “brings focus to the immediacy of the desert flora and fauna in the entry courtyard and the garden,” the firm explains. “It captures the sprawling texture of distant hills and offers anchoring views upward to the seemingly endless desert sky.”
Inside, the home’s airy private and communal areas provide unobstructed views of the property. The décor revolves around monochromatic pieces that respond to the muted tones of the outdoor landscape and spotlights the couple’s collection of midcentury furniture. The cedar of the exterior is also used indoors to reinforce the indoor-outdoor connection. “The form of the house is a simple one, designed to edit the relationship between landscape and sky,” writes Hacker, “and to cultivate a unique experience of both from each room.”
Kirby Nagelhout Construction
Madden & Baughman
Date of completion:
INTERIOR DESIGN: COMMERCIAL
Bucking the trend of blond wood and candy-hued pastels, the restaurant Samara embraces the dark tones and melancholy air of a Dutch still-life painting. Located in the Sunset Hill area of Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, the 38-seat eatery opened in January 2019 with a sustainability-focused menu and a multilevel wood-fueled grill and oven that serves as a focal point for both the cuisine and the décor. The space was designed by Mutuus Studio, an interdisciplinary firm consisting of architect Jim Friesz, designer Kristen Becker, and artist Saul Becker, as its first foray into restaurant design.
“Samara is rich and moody, with an elemental simplicity,” Mutuus writes in its submission. “The simple copper pot was an inspiration to us: something utilitarian that only gets better with age.” Copper is seen in details throughout the restaurant, including lighting, cookware, and the wood-fueled oven and hearth. Dark-stained oak paneling and wainscoting wrap part of the bar front and dining room, which is open to the brick oven and allows guests to watch their meals’ preparation. Soft dove-gray paint balances the abundance of wood, keeping the atmosphere cozy rather than oppressive. An eight-seat soapstone chef’s counter permits diners a front-row view of the action in the kitchen, the pots hanging overhead coupled with the crackle and pop of the oven’s burning wood giving guests the sense of being in someone’s home on a winter evening. Dotting the space are elegant industrial Mallet lights designed by Mutuus specifically for the space.
“The amber glow of the fire inspired the design of the lights, [which feature] a torched copper exterior patina with a polished copper interior,” the firm writes. “Rich earth tones dominate [the space], bringing to mind a tranquil wooded understory.” Dishware sourced from both Paris and local potter Akiko Graham adds a textural element to the space, bringing it still closer to a Vermeer mood.
Date of completion:
INTERIOR DESIGN: RESIDENTIAL
Jessica Helgerson Interior Design
Some neighborhoods are just too good to give up. Such was the case for this client, who had lived in a spacious industrial loft in Portland’s Pearl District for years, becoming very attached to the area in the process. But while she loved living downtown, she was no longer in love with her apartment. Contemplating a move, the client saw another unit in her building that had been remodeled by local firm Jessica Helgerson Interior Design. Inspired by the transformation, she called the designer in hopes of achieving similar results in her own apartment.
“At the beginning of the design process, we received a short list of adjectives from our client describing the kind of home she’d like to live in,” notes the firm in its project entry. “In the end, we designed an environment that aims to be both serene and energizing.” No major structural changes were needed because “the plan, as it was originally laid out, was simple [and] logical and worked well for our client,” the firm continues. “It really came down to a few strategic shifts: moving the kitchen sink from an interior wall to a window, lowering a lofted area, and adding a maximum amount of storage for a minimum amount of clutter.”
Opting for a restrained material palette (the space’s rough sawn-wood ceiling, existing brick walls, and concrete flooring were all kept intact), Helgerson swathed the walls in white to bring in warmth. Subtle hints of feminine glamour include a pearly porcelain tile backsplash in the kitchen and upholstered felt wall panels in the bedroom (bonus: the panels hide storage space). The furnishings, a combination of vintage, custom, and new pieces, balance the scale, material, and tone of the industrial shell. And a special find, a three-paneled mobile aptly titled Balance, designed by Danish architect Stine Gam and Italian architect Enrico Fratesi of the firm GamFratesi, toes the “delicate line between serene and energizing.”
Paul Hegarty Construction
Date of completion:
Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park
Site Workshop Landscape Architecture
In 1993, the 571-foot-tall ASARCO smelter smokestack on Tacoma’s Point Defiance was demolished, marking a turning point in the area’s environmental progress. During ASARCO’s more than 70-year-long tenure, the smelter had formed a manmade peninsula by dumping lead and arsenic slag into Puget Sound, polluting 1,000 square miles of soil across the sound’s main basin. This past August, Seattle’s Site Workshop Landscape Architecture completed a decades-long project with Metro Parks Tacoma and the local community to transform the slag peninsula into a park. “The project highlights the tension between the site’s productive industrial past and its rich natural surroundings,” writes Site in its awards submission, reflecting, “the complex identity of Tacoma and its aspirations for the future.”
Sprawling across 11 of the park’s 46 acres, the project includes three sail mounds (or artificial hills) composed of contaminated landfill capped with clean soil and stone terraces. On the north end of the peninsula, one mound’s slope forms an amphitheater, and a concrete stage was added to host outdoor events. The top layer of the site is covered with naturally sourced native-prairie flora of the type once seen throughout Pierce County but now found in only 3 percent of the Puget Sound area.
Site commissioned Portland-based artist Adam Kuby to commemorate Dune Peninsula’s checkered past with interactive art installations. He installed a series of increasingly smaller steel pipes to represent the dismantling of the notorious smokestack—once the world’s tallest—that once dominated the plot. Site also designed a slender 550-foot-long pedestrian bridge to connect the park to the redeveloped waterfront and a trail to downtown
Tacoma, providing urbanites with immediate access to nature. From the bridge, park-goers can take in unobstructed views of Commencement Bay and the Puget Sound mountain ranges. “The park connects visitors to this story with engaging forms, details, and art,” Site writes, “while creating a diverse array of recreational spaces for discovery, play, and enjoying the natural beauty of the region.”