“How could I design anything more beautiful than the natural world . . We use the intersection of nature and built form to bring both experiences into sharper focus and to give the individual a sense of their place in the world.”

Tom Kundig

Source: http://aiaeb.org/aia/images


There is a terrific essay titled ‘An Approach to Architecture’, by Jim Olson, Rick Sundberg, Tom Kundig and Scott Allen (1998). For those of you like us who love to trawl through architecture and design, this is worth a look.

You can see in his home Shadowboxx that the landscape forms a central view for the room, a solid illustration of Kundig’s philosophy. The horizon seems to be perfectly aligned with the framed lookout of the building, giving the client a unique sense of place utilising built form and the surrounding environment.

Shadowboxx 101


In a video titled ‘An Interview with Jim Olson and Tom Kundig‘ from Vimeo, Tom states “I remember growing up with the sort of frustration that these houses couldn’t breathe to the outside.  So, I had a client and he said “jeeze, I wish, its such a beautiful place, its such a beautiful view, I wish we could just open up the entire front end of the house.”  And I went umm, well, that’s all I needed to hear.”  Tom proceeded to design Chicken Point Cabin; an oasis to the natural beauty surrounding it.

Thepierre01 700x522

In the same interview, Tom says “how could I design anything that is more beautiful than the natural world? I mean, that’s our muse, our touchstone.  So in a way the architecture; the interiors, everything is somewhat subservient to what’s happening outside in these incredible landscapes.”  A result of this is a design by Tom known as The Pierre, which embodies every sense of that statement.  The rock outcropping that this house is nestled into was excavated and the resulting rock was used as aggregate in the concrete structure.  Surrounded by the lush foliage, and topped with a green roof, the dwelling almost seems to vanish into the landscape around it.

You can read the longer essay here at Olson Kundig Architects