12 + Adler = actual swooning.

March 15, 2011 at 4:51 pm 1 comment

Ok, the word “swoon” is so overused in design blogs that it’s ridiculous. That said, the residential part of this mixed-use project by Skylab Architecture [warning: despite their amazing work, Skylab’s flash-crazy site may cause motion sickness] has actually caused me to become enraptured.

living, dining, and kitchen of 12+Adler by Skylab Architecture, photo by John Clark

Located at 12th and Adler in the southwest quadrant of Portland, this amazing space is home to Jeff Kovel (founder of Skylab Architecture) and his family. The final project boasts adaptive reuse, site sensitivity, high ceilings, a roof deck, open floor plans, and – frankly – just great style. Did I mention that I’m swooning?

a (very) carefully constructed opening in the living room looks onto the church across the street and appears as if “a skylight has bled into a window”; 12+Adler by Skylab Architecture, photo by John Clark

via Dwell (April, 2007):

“The ramshackle building that has become 12 + Alder serves as the office for Skylab Design, the storefront for  the furniture shop Intelligent Design, space for the salon D Studio, and home to the Kovel family. Erected in 1907, the building has housed a messenger service, a boardinghouse, a storage space, a gay bathhouse, and more recently, a store selling fine, handmade men’s lingerie.

Manly underthings aside, for years the West End’s only architectural draw was the First Presbyterian Church, a stately Victorian Gothic just across the street from 12 + Alder. “The church is amazing,” Kovel says with clear admiration for the sanctuary designed by William E. McCaw, Richard Martin, Jr., and Manson White in 1890. “It was a real no-man’s-land down here, and one of the things we wanted to do when building 12 + Alder was to feed off the church and to extend the context of [the] architectural experience.”

While the modernist glass-and-steel façade is an aesthetic departure from the First Presbyterian’s design, the clearest and grandest example of Kovel’s dialogue with the church comes in his open, uncluttered 2,000-square-foot residence on the second floor. “When it was a bathhouse in the ’70s, there was this pitched skylight that looked up to the steeple.” Kovel kept that detail in the bathroom, but wanted an even more sweeping statement for the living room.”

More photos available on the Dwell slideshow (by John Clark), or on Skylab Architecture’s website.

March 15’s daily design idea is swoon like you mean it!


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Fredrik Färg’s “slow fashion” furniture. “All the World’s a Page”

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. 12 + Adler « Five House  |  August 9, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    […] – article in Dwell. Daily Design Idea coverage. Jeff KovelSkylab ← Previous post Next post […]


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