Prominent Portland Architects

Portland Architects

The Dan Volkmer Team is proud to have helped sellers and buyers connect on real estate transactions involving one-of-a-kind houses by some of the architectural greats who have made Portland so special. Here are some of our favorite architects who’ve worked in the Pacific Northwest:

The historic Colonial Revival Ayer-Shea House (built 1892) located at 1809 NW Johnson Street.

The historic Colonial Revival Ayer-Shea House (built 1892) located at 1809 NW Johnson Street.

Whidden & Lewis (that’s William Marcy Whidden and Ion Lewis) were arguably the dynamic duo of early 20th century Portland architecture, designing private houses largely in the Colonial Revival style. But they also created some of the most dramatic, still-loved commercial buildings in town, such as downtown’s private (Georgian Revival) Arlington Club. Among the great Whidden & Lewis private homes are The Mackenzie House (now the William Temple House) in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, on N.W. 20th Ave., the red brick W.B. Ayer House in our on N.W. 19th, and the (Federal styled) W.R. Mackenzie House, in Southeast Portland.


A.E. Doyle— Originally having worked for the renowned Whidden & Lewis

A.E. Doyle

A.E. Doyle

in the early 1880’s, Doyle struck out on his own to gain fame and fortune in Oregon and Washington State. He often worked in the Revival and Italianate styles. Some of the local masterpieces by Doyle include the downtown (Georgian style) Portland Public Library building, the Benson Hotel, the (Renaissance style) Pacific Building, the Reed College Student Union and Chapel, Jeld-Wen Field and such notable houses as the massive red brick mansion on the eastern edge of the main entrance to Washington Park. In the mid-1920s, near the end of Doyle’s life, he hired the young Pietro Belluschi, who also became one of the great Portland architects of the 20th century.


Emil Schacht — Having had his most prolific period between the 1880s and World War I, Schacht was an architectural master who excelled at stately private homes as well as larger structures, such as the Hotel Oregon, the Pantages Theater, and the Gearhart Hotel. Among his great houses were the Cohn-Sichel House on N.W. Johnson and the Henry Hahn House, on N.W. Cornell Road.

Emil Schacht

Emil Schacht in his studio

William Christmas Knighton— Born on Christmas Day in 1864, Knighton gained experience as an architect in Chicago and Birmingham, before moving to Oregon in his 30s.

He made many significant contributions to Oregon’s architectural history, including being named our first official State Architect in 1913 (at the age of 49).

Famous buildings that Knighton created included the Oregon Supreme Court in Salem, the magnificent Governor Hotel in downtown Portland, and U of O’s Johnson Hall. Other locations in Portland where you can see Knighton’s work include a trio of National Register homes: the Ainsworth House (2542 S.W. Hillcrest Drive), Gaston House (1960 S.W. Sixteenth Ave.), and the Schnabel House (2375 S.W. Park Place).


Borghorst Residence in Milwaukee, OR

Borghorst Residence in Milwaukie, OR

Thompson-Vaivoda — a partnership started by Bob Thompson and Ned Vaivoda in 1984. They are regionally recognized for their modernist architecture.

This multi-talented firm boasts such work as residential (the Columbia River Gorge House, and the Borghorst Residence in Milwaukie, OR), commercial (the dramatic glass-metal-wood Welcome Center at the Grotto in Portland), and civic (the stunning Marilyn Moyer Meditation Chapel in Portland).



The Bitar House

Herman Brookman: The Bitar House

Herman Brookman—  Born in New York City, this primarily residential architect started his practice in the Pacific Northwest in the early 1920s, and was a significant contributor to our regional style. He is still remembered fondly for such work as the wonderful M. Lloyd Frank residence (created for the Meier & Frank co-founder), the English Country styled house, “Fir Acres,” (now part of the Lewis & Clark College campus); the Clackamas River residence of Julius Meier, “Menucha”; and the 1927 Temple Beth Israel right in our own Northwest Portland neighborhood.


Joseph Jacobberger

Joseph Jacobberger

Joseph Jacobberger— Born in Alsace Lorraine, France, Jacobberger was brought to the U.S. while he was a child. Moving to Portland from Minneapolis around the age of 21, the young architect was a draftsman with our famous local firm of Whidden and Lewis. After a stint in Los Angeles, Jacobberger started his own architectural firm back in Portland in 1900.

Jacobberger’s significant work includes numerous religious buildings and plans — including the Marylhurst College All Saint’s Chapel, the Cathedral of Saint Mary, and the University of Portland Campus Plan, as well as the Overland (DeSoto) Building in Portland’s Pearl District.


The Elizabeth Ducey House of NW Portland

The Elizabeth Ducey House of NW Portland

Wade Hampton Pipes— Pipes was not merely a prolific creator of memorable houses in Portland, but also the main exponent of English Cottage styled architecture in the state.

His noteworthy houses in Portland and Lake Oswego (many on the National Register of Historic Houses) include the John M. and Elizabeth Bates house, Pipes Family House, Dr. Frank B. Kisner House, Maurice Crumpacker House, and Elizabeth Ducey House.


John Yeon

John Yeon

John Yeon — Portland native son Yeon, whose father was in the timber businessman and oversaw the building of the Columbia River Highway, is one of the originators of our Northwestern Modernist movement in architect.

Yeon’s significant buildings include the cool glass and metal Portland Visitors Information Center (1948) downtown in the Tom McCall Waterfront Park, and the striking Aubrey Watzek House (in Southwest Portland, and on the National Register of Historic Places).

Van Evara Bailey
— A well-traveled architect, who worked in California and places as far-flung as New Zealand, Bailey deserves a legitimate place in the pantheon of modern architects in Portland. He was a prime mover in the Northwest Regional style. That style, which took full advantage of our plentiful timber, including cedar, was a familiar building material and aesthetic element to Bailey’s houses.

No lesser light than Richard Neutra chose Bailey to supervise the creation of the impressive Jan de Graffe house in Dunthorpe. Other great houses with the Bailey touch include the Hoffman House (1941, Portland), the Edwin Mittelstadt House (1951, Portland’s Council Crest), and the David Eyre House (1953, Portland’s West Hills).

Pietro Belluschi — No discussion of modern architecture is complete without considering Belluschi. Fittingly born at turn of the 20th century, this Italian-born artist (who received his degree in engineering in Rome) moved to Portland in 1925, carrying a letter of introduction to our distinguished architect A.E. Doyle. Belluschi became Doyle’s chief designer in only two years. When Doyle died a year later, Belluschi began running the office (which he purchased in 1942, reorganizing it under his own name).

The list of significant Belluschi buildings is impressive, including the Portland Art Museum (1931-32), the magnificent Equitable Building (now called the Commonwealth Building, 1944-48). That latter building, an early aluminum-sheathed building of reinforced concrete with glazed double-pane thermal windows and large heat-pump system for heating and cooling, became nationally famous and influential. It is credited with being the first significant glass-skinned Modernist corporate building completed in the U.S. after World War II.

Belluschi went on to become the dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at M.I.T. and helped design the Julliard School of Music and Alice Tully Hall, the Pan American Building over Grand Central, San Francisco’s Bank of America Building, and many more nationally beloved buildings.

He returned to Portland in 1974, where he continued to make significant contributions to our local architecture.