Meet our Director of Design
Updated: Sep 10, 2018
Who is Peter Spalding?
By: Alexander Spalding
When Peter Spalding is assigned a design project of any sort, he begins by looking at history. His great historical heroes are diverse, ranging from Michelangelo with his heaving Mannerist forms to New York’s turn of the century architects McKim, Mead, and White who helped bring European Classicism to America. He also admires Portland’s own historical architect, Herman Brookman, who created several of Portland’s finest buildings, including Temple Beth Israel and Frank Manor House on Lewis & Clark’s campus. Like these architects and designers, Peter considers every detail of a project, from the plants that should line the driveway and the type of shingle that ought to cover the roof to the pattern of the fabric on the armchair next to a fireplace somewhere beneath that roof.
Peter attended New York University where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture History and Urban Design. There, he published an essay in the Art History Department Journal entitled “Great Camp Architecture: From the Gilded Age Elite to Roosevelt’s New Deal,” in which he explored the role of the craftsman in the making of “great camp” buildings including Mt. Hood’s Timberline Lodge.
Upon graduation, Peter continued to study with numerous New York-based traditional practitioners at the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art. There, he gained valuable knowledge about the details of historic buildings and houses. He studied historic systems of proportion, the classical Orders (Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, etcetera) and their associated details. He also learned to produce watercolor renderings in the manner of 19th and early 20th-century French artists and architects. His work there was published in The Wall Street Journal, as well as on the cover of American Arts Quarterly.
Peter worked for and collaborated with numerous architecture and design firms in Manhattan before moving west to begin his own practice. His first project in Oregon included gut renovations and careful rehabilitation of an Arts and Crafts villa in the southwest hills. Since then, he has worked in other historic homes designing period sensitive kitchens and bathrooms. He has also tackled more modern condominium renovations. In each case, his goal has been the same – to make his work so seamlessly related to the existing architecture that one might never know he had come and gone.