For Release: December 14, 2009
LAKE OSWEGO, OR — A small but historically significant home designed by noted Portland architect Pietro Belluschi will be kept in Lake Oswego, now that the Marylhurst University board of trustees has endorsed a plan to give the house a permanent home on the Marylhurst campus.
The agreement comes nearly three years after Tim Mather, owner of MCM Construction, and Tia Ross, a fellow historic homes preservationist, discovered a 911-square-foot home designed in 1951 by Belluschi for Arthur and Lucy Griffith of Lake Oswego was about to be demolished, and began a campaign to save it.
The home was believed to be one of only a few Belluschi-designed residences still standing unaltered, and the only one of its kind in Lake Oswego. The Italian-born Belluschi was involved in the design of an estimated 1,000 buildings over his 50-year career, including the Portland Art Museum, the Julliard School of Music in New York and St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco. He is widely known as the creator of the Northwest style of architecture, and his homes were constructed to take advantage of their natural surroundings and available light.
"The house is a perfect example of the elegant simplicity of Belluschi's mid-century modernist approach to design," said Mather. "It's truly a work of art and, fully restored, will be a lasting reminder of Belluschi's architectural legacy."
The home is essentially one large room, featuring cork floors, hemlock paneling and beamed ceilings. Never remodeled, it had fallen into disrepair, needing a new roof and heating and electrical systems. The home was purchased by developer George Hale, who recognized the house's intrinsic value but couldn't find a suitable reuse for the structure until Mather and Ross interceded. Hale donated the home, and Mather paid for it to be meticulously deconstructed and stored. The house – now in 2,000 pieces, all numbered and measured – sits in a 48-foot storage container awaiting reconstruction and restoration.
"I am so pleased that Marylhurst will become the home of this noted piece of 20th-century architecture," said Judi Johansen, Marylhurst University president. "The educational opportunities the Griffith house at our new Belluschi Pavilion will provide for our students and for the broader community are countless, and I look forward to working with Tim and his colleagues on all the next steps of restoring this home to its full beauty on our campus."
Fundraising efforts are now underway to pay for the costs of siting, permitting, reconstructing and restoring the Belluschi house.
About Friends of Belluschi
Friends of Belluschi was founded in 2006 by Tim Mather, Tia Ross and other home preservationists to save and restore the Griffith residence designed by Pietro Belluschi in Lake Oswego in 1951.
About Marylhurst University
Marylhurst University, a private liberal arts university located one mile south of downtown Lake Oswego on Highway 43, is regionally accredited and nationally recognized for innovation and academic excellence. Marylhurst's small, seminar-style classes – offered weekdays, evenings, weekends and online – provide convenience and flexibility for students with busy lives seeking professional certificates and undergraduate and graduate degrees.