John Yeon

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This article is about the architect John Yeon. For the timber businessman and father of the architect, see John B. Yeon.
John Yeon
Born (1910-10-29)October 29, 1910
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Died March 13, 1994(1994-03-13) (aged 83)
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Architect
Awards Brunner Prize

John Yeon (October 29, 1910 – March 13, 1994) was an American architect in Portland, Oregon, in the twentieth century. He is regarded as one of the early practitioners of the Northwest Regional style of Modernism. His output was limited, but was influential on later generations of Portland architects.

The family name is pronounced "yawn", not "yee-on".

Early life[edit]

John Yeon was born in Portland on October 29, 1910, the son of John B. Yeon and Elizabeth Mock Yeon.[1] The elder was a timber businessman and oversaw the building of the Columbia River Highway.[1] The younger Yeon was raised in Portland and attended Allen Preparatory School in that city before leaving for California to attend Stanford University.[1] Yeon attended the college for a single semester before leaving to learn less formally, and never became a licensed architect.[1]


Watzek House

Notable works include the Aubrey R. Watzek House (1937)[2] and the Portland Visitors Information Center (1949), both of which were featured in exhibits at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The Watzek house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The John Yeon Speculative House (1939), one of the best-preserved of his nine "speculative house" series, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in August 2007. Yeon also designed museum exhibitions, including those for the Portland Art Museum, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, and the Palace of the Legion of Honor.[1]

In 1956, Yeon was awarded the Brunner Prize for architecture by the National Institute of Arts.[1] The University of Oregon awarded him a Distinguished Service Award in 1977, and Lewis & Clark College gave him its annual Aubrey Watzek Award in 1980.[1]

John Yeon died on Sunday, March 13, 1994, in Portland of congestive heart failure.[1]

A gift on behalf of the estate of John Yeon was made to the University of Oregon School of Architecture and Allied Arts, which established the John Yeon Center for Architecture and the John Yeon Preserve for Landscape Studies. The John Yeon Center sponsors a John Yeon Lecture Series, Faculty Grant Program, Yeon Graduate Teaching Fellowship, and Advisory Board for architecture and historic preservation. The Yeon Center includes the Aubrey Watzek House, the Cottrell House (1950) and Yeon's personal landscape architecture property, The Shire, in Skamania County, Washington which looks across the Columbia River, facing Multnomah Falls.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bosker, Gideon, and Lena Lencek. Frozen Music: A History of Portland Architecture. Portland: Oregon Historical Society, 1985.
  • Placzek, Adolf K., ed. "Yeon, John." Macmillan Encyclopedia of Architects. New York: Free Press, 1982.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Hortsch, Dan. Nationally-known architectural designer dies. The Oregonian, March 15, 1994.
  2. ^ Leland M. Roth, American Architecture: A History (Boulder: Westview, 2001), 362-363.

External links[edit]