written by:
March 13, 2014
If there's one material Tom Kundig of Seattle firm Olson Kundig Architects is known for deploying in his projects, it's steel. Whether polished to a spectacular luster or left to weather with the elements, used as a structural support or applied as a refined accent, steel has the flexibility to be used in myriad ways. "Steel is just such a terrific material," Kundig says. "Virtually all of my projects have some sort of steel involved and hopefully, if I'm doing my job, I'm using it appropriately." Spy 10 of Olson Kundig's projects in the following slideshow.
olson kundig architects rolling huts small space design

The steel-clad Rolling Huts designed by Olson Kundig Architects in Manzama, Washington, sit lightly on the land thanks to wheels that allow the tiny residences to "hover" above the site, optimizing views of the landscape. Photo by Derek Pirozzi.

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Exterior bay writers cabin san juan islands

When raised via wire rope and hydraulic winch, the floor-to-ceiling shutters on the False Bay Writer's Cabin protect the interior. When lowered, they add 600 square feet of deck—and sweeping views of the landscape. “It’s edited and clear,” Kundig says. “Parts of it are intentionally exposed, and others are protected, enclosed, and intimate.” Photo by: Tim Bies

Originally appeared in Best in Glass
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olson kundig art stable

Built on the site of a former horse stable, Art Stable is a mixed-use infill project in Seattle, Washington, that boasts an 80-foot-tall hinge for hand-cranked doors. Photo by: Benjamin Benschneider.

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olson kundig steel modern house facade

In Sitges, Spain, Olson Kunding crafted a live-work house for two artists. Large panels of steel arch from the ground over the entrance, curving to create part of the building’s roof. Materials with a strong industrial aesthetic, including untreated steel and cast-in-place concrete, are used in the entry sequence, while the rear of the building opens to the landscape. Photo by: Nikolas Koenig.

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olson kundig hammer house metal facade

The Hammer House in Seattle is clad in weathered steel panels, which provide privacy from the busy street. Natural light enters from a glass-walled bay directly behind the opaque wall. Photo by: Nic Lehoux

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Red steel canopy covering walkway.

A steel canopy at the Tansu House on Fauntleroy Cove in Seattle protects people as they walk from the garage to the front door.

Originally appeared in House of Steel
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Olson Kundig is known for designing homes that allow residents to be as integrated or removed from nature as they'd like to be. This stop-motion video by Kevin Scott of Röllerhaus Pictureworks and Design Co. and Seattle-based composer Joshua Kohl of the Shadowboxx house on Washington's San Juan Islands show just how amazingly adaptable Olson Kundig's designs can be—kind of like kinetic sculptures built for living.

Originally appeared in A Stop Motion Video of a Shape-Shifting House
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"Conceived as a bunker nestled into the rock, the Pierre celebrates the materiality of the site," Olson Kunding states on its website. "From certain angles, the house almost fully disappears into nature." The entrance, sandwiched between a rock and a concrete wall features a steel awning. Photo by: Benjamin Benschneider.

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metal and wood staricase insode small cabin

On Puget Sound, activist and filmmaker Anna Hoover collaborated with Les Eerkes, a principal at Olson Kundig Architects, on a 693-square-foot studio in the woods. Using freecycled materials and a six-footed foundation to rein in construction costs, Hoover and Eerkes created a distinctive structure that treads lightly on the land. Cost-effective hot-rolled steel—steel being an Olson Kunding signature—covers the treads on the staircase leading to the sleeping loft. Photo by: Benjamin Benschneider.

Originally appeared in An Eco-Friendly Compact Cabin in Washington
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This 191-square-foot cabin near Vancouver and its glass facades "forces you to engage with the bigger landscape," architect Tom Kundig says, but it seals up tight when its owner is away. The unfinished steel cladding slides over the windows, turning it in

On a four-acre site on Salt Spring Island, just southwest of Vancouver, Olson Kundig crafted a cabin—modest in size yet bold in design—on the site where another cottage once stood. Inside the walls of rammed earth and steel, the 191-square-foot space is a cozy nook warmed by the caramel colors of the cedar on the floor and ceiling, which was milled from salvaged timbers, as well as the heat produced by the wood-burning stove. “The small size creates an intimate, protected refuge within a larger landscape,” Kundig says. “It forces you to engage with the bigger landscape yet still provides a sanctuary from the elements.”

Courtesy of 
Tom Bies
Originally appeared in First-Class Cabins
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olson kundig architects rolling huts small space design

The steel-clad Rolling Huts designed by Olson Kundig Architects in Manzama, Washington, sit lightly on the land thanks to wheels that allow the tiny residences to "hover" above the site, optimizing views of the landscape. Photo by Derek Pirozzi.

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