In his new book, David Wilson demonstrates the intimate connections between the land and culture of Northern California and his designs. A lifelong Californian and outdoorsman, Wilson integrates dramatic nature scenes with sustainability, the client’s goals, and the classic designs of N. Californian architects like Bernard Maybeck. The result, foreword author Russell Abraham writes, is “a unique regional modern style of architecture, which both pays respect to his antecedents and shows us a way into the future.” And despite a slightly comical disagreement over the role of clients in architecture, Wilson believes “clients are underappreciated in architecture” while Abraham views them as a nuisance “to be dealt with,” Abraham’s interpretation of Wilson’s work rings true. Repeatedly throughout the book the explanations for design decisions and the direct comparisons with nature photographs establish Wilson as an architect committed to function, harmony, and architecture as art.
With just 10 buildings displayed, Wilson is able to present in detail the design process for each piece through informative captions, beautiful photographs, detailed floor plans, and topographical maps. Although all of the houses are in or around Northern California, Wilson is able to show buildings in a variety of climates and terrains because of the natural diversity present in the region. The Portland Sequoia House stands out as a particularly impressive demonstration of a house built to fit with and blend into the land; at just 21 feet wide, the main house squeezes between and thus preserves two giant sequoia trees. From sprawling compounds to a 1400 square foot beach house, Houses + Origins provides a fascinating look into the process of one of the Pacific Northwest’s biggest architects and into some of the most stunning houses in the region.