Founded on the idea that architecture is closely related to nature and to people’s lifestyle, Olson Kundig is a studio famous for its inspiring projects spread across the globe. The practice is led by five owners and employs a holistic approach where all the aspects of a project or design are taken into consideration before a final picture starts to take shape. The most important characteristic of the studio’s numerous projects is the focus on the surroundings which are believed to have a positive effect on people’s lives.
Every project completed by the architects offers a new and fresh take on the whole indoor-outdoor connection and the relationship between a structure and its surroundings. The Shadowboxx is an interesting example. Completed in 2009, the house sits on a remote site, on Lopez Island, in Washington, USA. The site is in fact a natural clearing, surrounded by trees.
The architects wanted to put an emphasis on the relationship between the house and its surrounded and they tried to minimize the boundaries between the indoor and outdoor. The way in which they managed to do that is both innovative and memorable. With the simple push of a button the roof of the house can be lifted, like a lid on a box. In addition to that, some of the walls can be opened to further highlight the seamless transition towards the outdoors. In a way, this makes the inhabitants feel like they’re camping outside when they’re in fact enjoying the comfort of their home.
The Chicken Point Cabin
You’d expect a cabin in the woods to be all small, cozy and closed off from its remote surroundings but why would it be that way when there’s so much beauty to take in? The Olson Kundig team chose a different approach when designing the Chicken Point Cabin. The structure is located in Idaho, USA and sits on 3400 square feet of space on a site close to a lake.
The cabin is small but this doesn’t stop it from being strongly linked to its surroundings. In fact, this relationship is the detail that defines it as a project. Although small, the cabin has a huge window which opens its entire living space to the forest and the lake, letting in natural light and panoramic views. In addition to this window, the architects also found another way to connect the cabin to the surrounding landscape. They did that by using simple and low-maintenance materials with natural finishes which let them gain a patina over time.
In 2010 the architects completed this holiday home in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The owners use it as a seasonal vacation home and they wanted it to have plenty of room for entertaining guests but also a comfortable private zone where they and their guests can relax and unwind. Putting these two together wasn’t a major challenge. The architects organized the house into two volumes.
The downstairs area is an entertainment space which includes the social spaces such as the kitchen, living and dining rooms. Upstairs is the private zone where the bedrooms are situated. They can be closed off for more privacy and a quiet and relaxing ambiance. The location offered the architects the opportunity to open the house to its surroundings and to reveal stunning and unobstructed views of the sea and the rest of the landscape.