Restore Oregon Mid-Century Modern Design Series Celebrates PNW MCM Master Architects

Restore Oregon’s Annual Mid-Century Modern Design Series Blog  Restore Oregon

Experience timeless designs of Pietro Belluschi, Frank Shell, Walter Gordon, John Storrs, Saul Zaik, and John Yeon.

PORTLAND, OR (March 1, 2020) – On Friday May 8, 2020, Restore Oregon will kick off the two-day Mid-Century Modern Design Series, their signature historic preservation event highlighting the Pacific Northwest’s contribution to mid-century modern architecture, art, and interior design. The two-day, five-part design event, Admire the Masters, will offer attendees a carefully curated experience of Pacific Northwest modernism, including a self-driving home tour of five homes designed by Pietro Belluschi, Frank Shell, Walter Gordon, John Storrs, and Saul Zaik–plus a special bonus tour of the renowned John Yeon-designed Watzek House.

Now in its 10th year, The Mid-Century Modern Design Series has grown into much more than just a home tour. The event will focus on how to preserve and sensitively renovate Pacific Northwest Modern homes for today’s lifestyle. “Experience our region’s famed architects’ legendary designs–from the uninterrupted glass walls and functional, intimate courtyards of Pietro Belluschi, to Walter Gordon’s devotedness to using indigenous materials that celebrate the Pacific Northwest Regional aesthetic.” said Executive Director for Restore Oregon, Peggy Moretti. “We have a truly historic collection of Modern architecture and our goal is to both showcase it and promote its stewardship.”

Presented by ARCIFORM, the Mid-Century Modern Design Series takes place May 8 – May 9, 2020. Over the course of the two-day, five-part event, attendees will experience:

  • “The Mid-Century Masters: Timeless, Marketable, Adaptable” Lecture & Preservation Pop-Up
    Friday, May 8, 6pm – 8:30pm
    Presented by the Jupiter Hotel, Friday evening’s lecture will take place at Portland’s own MCM-inspired Jupiter NEXT hotel. The presentation will provide a history of mid-century modern architects on our tour, a discussion on the state of our region’s MCM real estate market, practical insights and examples of renovation projects, and the opportunity to ask your own mid-century-home renovation questions of our experienced panel. As an added bonus, attendees may enjoy a hosted happy hour reception and a Preservation Pop-Up featuring local businesses specializing in local, vintage, and renovation goods and services.
  • The Mid-Century Modern Admire the Masters Self-Driving Home Tour
    Saturday May 9, 10am-4pm
    Each year Restore Oregon and its committed Mid-Century Modern Committee carefully curates an exclusive tour of homes that illustrate modernism in Oregon. This year, the self-guided driving tour will feature archetypal work of mid-century master architects including Pietro Belluschi, Frank Shell, Walter Gordon, and John Storrs. This event will also be the first to honor the architectural legacy of Saul Zaik, friend of Restore Oregon and innovative modernist whose ability to blend his designs into the natural landscape created a magical connection between modern architecture and the world of the Northwest forest.
    The designs on the 2020 Admire the Masters Mid-Century Modern home tour display the Pacific Northwest’s unique qualities through building materials, integration with the landscape, and nods to Japanese design. In southeast Portland, take time to enjoy the Frank Shell-designed Blosser Whitehead Home–a modern minimalist design featuring two stories of floor-to-ceiling window walls. Designed in 1958 for the Assistant to the President of Reed College, Carleton Whitehead, and his wife, Dorothy Blosser Whitehead, founder of the Blosser Center for Dyslexia Resources, the home served as a gathering place for such Reed alum as Apple’s Steve Jobs and designer-to-the-stars, Emilio Pucci.
    Then head to the West Hills to see the Sutor House, designed by Pietro Belluschi for indoor-outdoor entertainment at the behest of bachelor, Jennings F. Sutor (1883-1961), Editor of The Oregon Journal. We promise, you’ve never seen the unblemished, vintage zebrawood curved walls or Japanese woven-wood entry ceiling this tour home offers. Then take the time to explore Walter Gordon’s expansive single-floor living, the organic and responsive design of John Storrs, and the mastered art of Saul Zaik’s site design.
  • Special Watzek House Event: John Yeon Watzek House – A Sequence of Revelations at the Mid-Century Modern Design Series
    Restore Oregon has partnered with the University of Oregon’s John Yeon Center for Architecture and the Landscape to offer a tour of the John Yeon Watzek House, an early mid-century National Historic Landmark. Designed for the lumber baron and civic patron Aubrey Watzek when John Yeon was just 26 years old, the Watzek House instantly became an icon for bold, new regional interpretations of the Modernist movement. Sited on 3.62 acres in the southwest Portland hills, the design included the main house on the east portion of the property, and a chauffeur’s house on the west part. The site afforded magnificent views to the north (Mt. St. Helens), east (Mt. Hood), and south (Tualatin Valley), of which Yeon would take full advantage. It was Yeon’s intention to make the house a part of the landscape and not an imposition upon it. To experience this Watzek House guided tour, attendees must purchase a separate ticket. NOTE: This event requires an additional ticket purchase. Choose one of four time slots; only 12 attendees per time slot.
  • The MIX:MOD After-Tour Party
    Saturday May 9, 6pm
    After a full day of mid-century modern design and renovation, attendees, 21 and over, can enjoy a festive after-tour party that includes signature vintage cocktails, appetizers, dancing, a raffle, and prizes for best mid-century modern attire. This special event is hosted by Rejuvenation, the official after-tour party sponsor.

To receive updates, visit and sign up for their newsletter, or follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @restoreoregon. The Jupiter Hotel, the official host hotel and Retro Rehab Lecture Sponsor, is offering a special 20% room rate discount, use code PDXModern.

Mid-Century Modern Design Series 2020 Frank Shell House

Frank Shell House. Image courtesy Timothy Niou Photography.

Mid-Century Modern Design Series Event Details

  • DAY 1 | Friday, May 8, 2020
    • “Mid-Century Masters: Timeless, Marketable, Adaptable” Lecture & Preservation Pop-Up
      Jupiter NEXT Arium Ballroom | 900 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214

      • Preservation Pop-UP and Happy Hour Reception from 6pm- 7pm
      • Mid-Century Masters Lecture from 7-8:30pm
  • DAY 2 | Saturday, May 9, 2020
    • The Mid-Century Modern Masters Home Tour, Homes open 10am – 4pm
      • Attendees must check-in to start the self-driving home tour
      • Check-in from 9am-1pm at The Jupiter Hotel | 800 E Burnside Street, Portland, OR 97214
    • The MIX:MOD After-Tour Party
      • Hosted by Rejuvenation at their flagship SE Portland store, the party starts at 6pm, 1100 SE Grand Ave, Portland, OR 97214 | Included with Day 2 ticket.
    • SPECIAL EVENT: John Yeon Watzek House Tour – A Sequence of Revelations at the Mid-Century Modern Design Series
      • Guided timed tour of the Watzek House at 10am, 11:30am, 1pm, and 2:30pm (limited to 12 people for each tour time)
      • Must purchase separate ticket
Mid-Century Modern Design Series 2020 Sutor House

Sutor House. Image courtesy Sally Painter.

Pricing & Tickets

Tickets on sale now:

  • Day One–Just Friday
    Includes the Preservation Pop Up and Lecture Happy Hour
    $25 general admission | $20 Restore Oregon members
  • Day Two–Just Saturday
    Includes the Mid-Century Modern Home Tour & MIX:MOD after party at Rejuvenation
    $50 general admission | $40 for Restore Oregon members
  • Just the Watzek House Special Event
    $25 per ticket


All proceeds from these fundraising and educational events benefit Restore Oregon, a historic preservation non-profit organization that advocates for and saves historic places around the state.

Mid-Century Modern Design Series 2020 Watzek House

Watzek House. Image courtesy Restore Oregon.

About Restore Oregon

Founded in 1977, Restore Oregon is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization which advocates for sound preservation policy and legislation. Our mission is to preserve, reuse and pass forward the historic places that create livable communities. Each year, we provide statewide educational programming and technical assistance, while working to save the sites and structures featured on our annual list of Oregon’s Most Endangered Places. We hold over 40 conservation easements on historic properties, thereby protecting them in perpetuity. Learn more at

Cover image courtesy Timothy Niou Photography.