Shoptalk - Corey Martin

How would you describe your relationship with architecture? How has it changed over your career?

I love to see how the very first insights about a project evolve to become a tactile, experiential place. It’s amazing. I also know now to trust the early insights more, to not fight them, and to let the process unfold to realize them.

Your work blends the lines between design, the extended landscape, and living space; is this something you’ve always felt strongly about or was it a gradual process of finding your voice?

I have always had the urge to connect design, landscape, and space and I have learned how to articulate it, define it, and make it happen in more powerful ways over time.

Do you use the natural environment specifically as inspiration for your architectural projects?

Absolutely. It doesn’t matter if I am working in an urban location or a sensitive natural environment, I always ask how the design can connect to the environment.

Has there been a defining experience that has significantly influenced your viewpoint on design?

There hasn’t been one single experience, but a series of experiences linked by a lot of work trying to figure things out. That said, the best thing I ever did for my confidence in architecture was the act of leaving the profession to focus on pure art.

What are some of the current influences on your work?

I am extremely excited about the potential of mass timber, and the potential of art and nature to play an even larger part in the next phase of my work.

You’ve built up a body of residential work. What are some major takeaways from designing homes?

Homes are more personal, and they allow a level of experimentation and clarity that larger projects do not. They allow deep connections to be made between people and the landscape.

As you look to the future, are there any ideas you think should be front and center in the minds of residential architects?

We should all be asking how our projects can improve something in the world.

How many projects do you take on at one time or throughout the year?

Our office does all types of work and we usually have two to three single-family homes in design or construction at any moment. We are expanding our single-family practice so that we can take on more of this work in the future.

Hidden talent?

Ask me where to go mountain biking in Oregon and I won’t stop talking for a few hours.

Favorite era of design?

The heyday of modern sculpture in the mid-century and the NW Coast carvers– Noguchi, Brancusi, Moore, Hepworth, Smith, Reid.

Favorite architectural detail of your childhood home?

My childhood home was the only simple modern home on our street. It was a wood volume stacked on a concrete base that had a continuous wall of glass looking west over South Eugene. The views were fantastic and in the summer it got really, really hot. My favorite detail was the external roller shades that my dad installed to block the heat before it came into the house. I learned about passive heating and cooling from an early age.

What’s next on the boards?

We are going to create the most regenerative homes you have ever seen.

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