This 350-square-foot cabin is a small perch for its occupant. When you’re inside or on the deck, you are raised up above the landscape with an excellent view out onto the Sol Duc River. And the interior is like a warm, dry nest. It is located in one of the few temperate rainforests in the world, and “rainforest” here means wet and rather cold, as opposed to wet and hot. Putting the cabin on stilts protects it from the clammy dampness and occasional flooding.
The owner is an avid steelhead fisherman, and the Sol Duc has some of the best steelhead fishing in Washington State. The design allows him and his wife to arrive at this remote location, open the place up, and get to fishing as quickly as possible. The shutters are operated manually via custom steel rods. The large panels slide on hardware that was originally designed for sliding barn doors, attached to the steel roof beam structure.
I don’t think that I could ever design something as beautiful as what’s already out there. We’re here to frame the landscape, to create an experience of that place, and perhaps to bring some of that experience—the intimacy, the vulnerability— inside the house.
That it seals up entirely when not in use is important partly because the location is so remote and also because the elements can be punishing. Although the building is virtually indestructible: it’s made of unfinished, mild steel and structural insulated panels. The insides are mostly wood, for a sense of warmth.
The materials are a direct response to the surrounding wilderness. Most of the cabin was prefabricated off-site, which minimized construction wastage and site disruption. The loft floor is made from two-by-fours the owner had on site. We simply stacked and glued the pieces together, then threaded bolts through the stack to secure it.
AIA National Housing Awards, Architecture, Housing Award
AIA Northwest and Pacific Region Design Awards, Design Award
AIA Pacific Northwest Region, Honor Award
AIA Seattle Honor Awards, Merit Award
Jodidio, Philip. “Olson Kundig Architects.” Small Architecture, Cologne: Taschen, Mar. 2017, 368-373. Print.
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