The private library and museum serves the Masonic Grand Lodge of Oregon as a sanctuary for reading and research, community and contemplation. It is dedicated to the memory of Robert M. Richmond, a former Grand Master of the Oregon Freemasons, and his love for books and pursuit of knowledge. The Oregon library design concept originates with a 5,000-square-foot rectangular brick, carved away at its core for a library and further carved out to create perimeter spaces for reading, museum, conference, and office. The remaining four corners accommodate support spaces and firmly ground the building in its site between an oak grove and open lawn.
A combination of balance and restraint, the design strives for a poetic simplicity in concept, form, composition, and materials. Expansive glass walls between the brick corners result in a strong visual relationship of building to site and interior to exterior. These walls, combined with clerestory windows, fill the building with natural daylight and provide sweeping views. The interior is purposeful in its simplicity, with clear geometric forms, a limited palette of primary materials, and measured ornamentation. Symbols of Masonic tradition are featured in the museum collection, and representations of classical architecture are portrayed throughout the building in the form of ceramic frit patterns on the glass.
This application of glass frit also helps filter daylight, mitigate heat gain, and protect birds. A simplified materials palette features product sustainability labels such as HPDs, EPDs, and Declare and locally manufactured lounge chairs by Portland’s Revolution Design House. Wooden “brick” screen walls and tree trunk end tables were derived from diseased white oaks salvaged on site. Passive design strategies and high-efficiency systems contribute to reduced energy use.