by: CLIFF NEWELL - Judi Johansen, president of Marylhurst University, had an enthusiastic speech at the groundbreaking celebration for the Bellluschi House. At left is Michael Lammers.A rare gem is being preserved at Marylhurst University.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the reconstruction of the historic Belluschi House was held on the Marylhurst campus Sept. 11.

The small house was originally constructed for the Griffith family on Iron Mountain Road in 1951 and was one of only three buildings designed by the great architect Pietro Belluschi in the Lake Oswego area. That number has been reduced to two because the Our Lady of the Lake School was torn down to make way for a new school that opened just a couple of weeks ago.

“We’re glad it’s saved,” said Michael Lammers, Marylhurst’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, who is heading up the preservation project. “It is wonderful to see a project that we have been working on for nearly three years finally come to fruition. The Belluschi House is truly an historic landmark.”

Many people in the crowd on Tuesday were Lake Oswego history aficionados and supporters of projects that enhance the preservation of local traditions. But the little house on the campus has a big future, too.

“It’s a really neat project,” said Judi Johansen, president of Marylhurst University. “It will be a great venue for receptions and classes. It will fit in so well with our curriculums for interior design, art and cultural studies. By preserving this great little building, it helps Marylhurst University really be part of this community.”

Johansen was the main speaker for the occasion, and afterward she wielded one of the golden shovels used to break the ground. The Rev. Rick Ganz, Marylhurst’s vice president of community relations, gave the invocation. He called the Belluschi House “a beautiful, light-filled expression of spirit.”

Members of the Belluschi and Griffith families were on hand to welcome the house to Marylhurst. Respects were also paid to Tim Mather, owner of MCM Construction, who donated the house to the university. The project manager will be Paul Schommer, of Schommer & Sons, who said, “This project will reinstate the craftsmanship of another era.”

The completion of the project is tentatively scheduled for next summer. At that time there will be another party to celebrate the Belluschi House.

Born in Italy, Pietro Belluschi was involved in the design of an estimated 1,000 buildings, including the Portland Art Museum, the Julliard School of Music in New York City and St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco. He also is credited as being a contributor to an architectural style known as Pacific Northwest CLIFF NEWELL - Marylhurst's Executive Vice President Michael Lammers and President Judith A. Johansen join Anthony Belluschi, Sara Bailey of the Kinsman Foundation, Tim Mather, Peter Belluschi and Sue Griffith at the ceremonial groundbreaking of the Belluschi Pavilion at Marylhurst University. Anthony and Peter are the sons of Pietro Belluschi, the world-renowned architect who designed the home.

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