The Pierre

Location San Juan Islands, Washington
Design Principal Tom Kundig

The owner’s affection for a stone outcropping on her property inspired the design of this house. Conceived as a retreat nestled into the rock, the Pierre (the French word for stone) celebrates the materiality of the site. From certain angles, the house—with its rough materials, encompassing stone, green roof, and surrounding foliage—almost disappears into nature.

With the exception of a separate guest suite, the house functions on one main level, with an open-plan kitchen, dining, and living space. A wood-clad storage box (made with siding reclaimed from a Lionel Pries–designed house) transitions from outside to inside. Its two large bookcases open to provide concealed access to laundry and kitchen storage. A large pivoting steel and glass door provides access to a terrace.

The materiality of the built structure—mild steel, smooth concrete, and drywall—create a neutral backdrop for the interior furnishings and artwork and the exterior views to the bay and surrounding landscape.

Throughout the house, the rock protrudes into the space, contrasting with the luxurious textures of the furnishings. Interior and exterior fireplace hearths are carved out of existing stone; leveled on top, they are otherwise left raw. In the master bathroom, water cascades through three polished pools, natural sinks in the existing stone. Off the main space, a powder room is carved out of the rock; a mirror set within a skytube reflects natural light into the space.

Contemporary works of art by Cameron Martin, Jesse Paul Miller, Andres Serrano, Franz West, and Claude Zervas are mounted inside and outside the house. Antique furniture and art objects are complemented by custom pieces. The custom light fixtures are based on the designs of Irene McGowan, a Seattle artist and lighting designer best known for her work with noted Northwest architect Roland Terry. Interiors by Olson Kundig, in collaboration with the client.

Set at a right angle to the main space, a master suite features a custom-designed bed with a leather headboard and footboard set in the middle of floor-to ceiling bookshelves.

Tom Kundig Design Principal

Putting the house in the rock follows a tradition of building on the least productive part of a site, leaving the best parts free for cultivation.

Tom Kundig Design Principal

To set the house deep into the site, portions of the rock outcropping were excavated through a combination of machine work and handwork. The contractor used large drills to set the outline of the building, then used dynamite, hydraulic chippers, and wire saws and other hand tools, working with finer and finer implements as construction progressed. Excavated rock was reused as crushed aggregate in all the stonework, a reminder of the building process, while huge pieces of rock were employed for the carport structure.

Information

Team

Design Principal

Tom Kundig

Project Manager

Christopher Gerrick

Interior Designer

Charlie Hellstern

Awards

2014

AIA National Honor Awards, Architecture Award

AIA National Honor Awards, Interior Architecture Award

2013

Architizer A+ Popular Choice Awards, Finalist, Residential Single Family Home

2012

AIA National Housing Awards, Housing Award

AIA Northwest and Pacific Region Honor Awards, Honor Award

AIA Seattle Honor Awards, Honor Award

Builder’s Choice Design & Planning Awards, Builder’s Choice Grand Award

Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Awards, American Architecture Award

International Interior Design Association Interior Design Awards, Interior Design Award, Best of Competition

2011

Northwest Design Awards, First Place: Exotic Retreats

Washington Aggregates & Concrete Association, Excellence in Concrete Construction

2010

World Architecture News House of the Year Awards, House of the Year

Publications

2015

“10 Emerging Voices Winners on the Program’s Lasting Influence.” Metropolis Magazine, 30 June 2015. Web.

Armas, Eva. “On the ROCK.” Architectural Digest, 18 March 2015. Web.

Baldwin, Eric. “The Best of the Pacific Northwest: 8 Residential Projects.” Architizer, 29 July 2015. Web.

“Carved into Stone: The Pierre House by Olson Kundig Architects.” Steal Magazine, 11 July 2014. Web.

Dowdy, Clare. “Beat a Retreat.” Christie’s International Real Estate, 2015, 50-54. Print. Web.

Fairley, Gina. “Forget about the Block, Sydney gives up Superhouses,” ArtsHub, 25 Aug. 2015. Web.

Flint, Kerry. “The Pierre by Olson Kundig Architects.” Yatzer, 10 Feb. 2015. Web.

“Galeria Obras: The Pierre – Olson Kundig Architects.” Obrasweb, 17  March 2015. Web.

Gunnarsdottir, Rita. “Luxurious Knight dwelling carved out of stone.” Jyllands-Posten, 16 Dec. 2015. Web.

Ippolito, Mirella. “La casa nella roccia di Olson Kundig Architects.” Bigodino, 25 March 2015. Web.

Keskeys, Paul. “’Forms Assembled in the Light’: 7 Sun-Kissed Surfaces That Channel the Spirit of Le Corbusier.” Architizer, 5 Nov. 2015. Web.

Kushner, Marc. The Future of Architecture in 100 Buildings. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc., March 2015. Book.

Kyriacou, Maria. “A new exhibition of extraordinary homes.” MiNDFOOD, 31. Aug. 2015. Web.

“Mount Call!” Mosto, 8 Aug. 2015. Web.

Okocha, Tobe. “The Pierre House by Olson Kundig Architects.” HYPEBEAST, 22 Feb. 2015. Web.

“On Our Radar: How Modern Architecture Elevates Our Relationship With Nature.” This is Range, 11 Dec. 2015. Web.

“Superhouse: architecture and interiors beyond the everyday.” Australian Arts Review, 5 Oct. 2015. Web.

“The Best of the Pacific Northwest: 8 Residential Projects.” Decoration de la Maison, 29 July 2015. Web.

“The Pierre.” EK (Architecture Plus Design), 2015. Web.

“The Pierre, Lopez Island, Washington, USA.” IW Magazine, Nov. 2015, 40-44. Print.

“The Pierre.” Waterside Modern. London: Thames & Hudson, Oct. 2015, 218-227. Book.

“Tom Kundig and His House of Stone.” Architects + Artisans, 19 June 2015. Web.

“Tom Kundig Olson Kundig Architects Seattle.” Metropolis Magazine, June 2015. Print. Web.

Williams, Brett. “This Modern House is Solid as a Rock. Literally.” Supercompressor, 6 Aug. 2015. Web.

“Yushi Testimonials 153 Series.” Micro headlines (wtoutiao.com), 28 Nov. 2015. Web.

2014

“2014 AIA Institute Honor Awards Announced.” Contract, 13 Jan. 2014. Web.

“2014 AIA Institute Honor Awards Recognize Excellence in Architecture, Interiors, and Urban Design.” Hispanicbusiness, 14 Jan. 2014. Web.

“AIA-award winning home is squeezed between boulders.” The Real Deal, 18 Jan. 2014. Web.

“AIA Announces the 2014 Honor Awards: Architecture.” Architect, 10 Jan. 2014. Web.

“AIA Announces the 2014 Honor Awards: Interior Architecture.” Architect, 10 Jan 2014. Web. 

“AIA Honor Awards.” Architect, June 2014, 206, 214. Print. Web.

“American Institute of Architects names best projects of the year for AIA Institute Honor Awards.” Dezeen, 13 Jan. 2014. Web.

“Camouflaged Concrete House.” iGNANT, 27 Jan. 2014. Web.

Campbell-Dollaghan, Kelsey. “The 11 Best American-Designed Buildings Of The Year.” Gizmodo, 17 Jan. 2014. Web.

“Carved in stone: Pierre home from the studio Olson Kundig Architects.” Novate, 2014. Web.

Chirkov, Andrey. “Stone on Stone.” Archilenta, 7 Feb. 2014. Web.

Cohen, Aubrey. “Three Seattle projects among national architecture winners.” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 14 Jan. 2014. Web.

“Concrete house by Olson Kundig Architects cuts into a rocky outcrop.” Dezeen, 16 Jan. 2014. Web.

Costanzo, Lily di. “This Sleek, AIA-Winning Home Was Built Between Two Rocks.” Curbed National, 17 Jan. 2014. Web.

“Five of Dezeen’s favourite American projects from 2014.” Dezeen, 4 July 2014. Web.

Gangal, Sanjay. “The Pierre in San Juan Islands, Washington by Olson Kundig Architects.” AEC Cafe, 21 Jan. 2014. Web.

Grozdanic, Lidija. “2014 AIA Institute Honor Awards for Architecture Winners Announced.” Inhabitat, 14 Jan. 2014. Web.

Henson, Shane. “AIA recognizes excellence in architecture, interiors, and urban design.” FMLink, 29 Jan. 2014. Web.

“Home in the countryside.” SisustusBlogi, 2014, Web.

Hopkins, Denise. “The Pierre: A Washington cabin set in stone.” Outside, 20 May 2014. Web. 

Hoyt, Alex. “Institute Honor Awards: Interior Architecture.” Architect, June 2014. Web. 

“In the United States built a cottage, carved into the rock.” SmartNews21, 14 Feb. 2014. Web.

Keeley, Stan. “Three Western Washington Buildings Earn 2014 AIA Honor Award.” Curbed Seattle, 14 Jan. 2014. Web.

Kindle, Mariana. “After Dynamite comes home.” Casa Vogue, 4 Feb. 2014. Web.

“Local firms win national AIA awards.” Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, 14 Jan. 2014. Web.

McPherson, Shona. “This House Rocks: The Pierre, Olson Kundig Architects, Seattle.” Mildred Vol. 46, 13 June 2014. Web. 

Moffitt, Debra. “Beach Houses: Simple and Serene Seaside Architecture.” Hors Ligne, Summer 2014, 61-64. Print. Web.

Quirk, Vanessa. “ArchDaily Editors Select: Our Favorite Projects in the USA.” ArchDaily, 4 July 2014. Web.

“Rock Fusion | “The Pierre” by Olson Kundig Architects.” DZN World, 24 June 2014. Web.

Rosenfield, Karissa. “2014 AIA Institute Awards for Architecture.” ArchDaily, 10 Jan. 2014. Web.

Stone, Madeline. “These Stunning Buildings Just Won Top Honours From The American Institute of Architects.” Business Insider Australia, 14 Jan. 2014. Web.

Testado, Justine.”2014 AIA Institute Honor Awards recipients – Architecture.” Archinect News, 13 Jan. 2014. Web.

Testado, Justine.”2014 AIA Institute Honor Awards recipients – Interior Architecture.” Archinect News, 13 Jan. 2014. Web. 

“The 26 of 2013 excellence awards from the American Institute of Architects.” Greenbuilding, 14 Jan. 2014. Web.

“The Pierre House_Olson Kundig Architects.” C3 Magazine No. 355, 2014, 193-203. Print.

“The Pierre by Olson Kundig Architects.” Journal du design, 3 Feb. 2014. Print.

2012

Fatih, Driss. Pure Luxury: World’s Best Houses: 100 Great Houses. Victoria: Images Publishing, 2012. Book.

Giuffo, John. “Incredible Fortress Homes With Moats, Bullet-Proof Glass And Concrete Walls.” Forbes, 11 May 2012. Web.

“IIDA 2012 Interior Design Awards.” International Interior Design Association, 2012. Print.

Jodidio, Philip. Architecture Now! Vol. 8. Cologne: Taschen, March 2012, 328-335. Book.

Kellogg, Craig. “IIDA Awards: The Foundation Stone.” Interior Design, May 2012: 170-174. Print.

Rollo, Joe. “The Pierre.” C+A (Cement Concrete & Aggregates), 17 April 2012, cover, 1-2, 12-29. Print.

Saieh, Nico. “The Pierre / Olson Kundig Architects.” ArchDaily, 19 July 2012. Web. 

“The Pierre by Olson Kundig Architects.” Seven Hills Premium, May 2012, 20-21. Print.

Welton, J. Michael. “Tom Kundig’s House of Rock” Architects + Artisans, 15 March 2012. Web.

2011

“Award-Winning Carving.” Grand Designs Magazine, 1 May 2011. Print.

Keates, Nancy. “Top Architects Go Local.” The Wall Street Journal, 31 Dec. 2011: D1-2. Print.

“Kundig design is named WAN House of the Year.” Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, 23 Feb. 2011. Print. Web. 

Monie, Karine. “Un Escondite En Las Piedras.” Architectural Digest Mexico Feb. 2011, 106-116. Print.

Patel, Riya. “The Pierre by Olson Kundig Architects.” Icon Magazine, 25 Feb. 2011, 50-51. Print. Web. 

Viladas, Pilar. “Aussen Roh, Innen Diamant.” ELLE Decoration Germany, Oct. 2011, 158-167. Print.

Viladas, Pilar. “Rock Ster.” Eigen Huis & Interieur, June 2011, 174-185. Print.

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