Olson Kundig
Winthrop, United States
Project Year
Private Houses
Benjamin Benschneider


Olson Kundig as Architects

Set in the remote Methow Valley, Studhorse responds to the clients’ desire to experience and interact with the surrounding environment throughout all four seasons. Riffing on the tradition of tents around a campfire, the parti of the building is three tents surrounding the central pavilion with family room and kitchen.

Four small, unattached structures are scattered around a central courtyard and pool. The 20 acre site is nestled in the northern portion of the 60-mile-long glacial valley and the buildings are arranged to frame carefully composed views of the surrounding Studhorse Ridge and Pearrygin Lake.

Studhorse exemplifies the architect’s belief that his job is to create an experience of place. Traditional boundaries between the built structure and its surroundings are purposefully blurred, forcing the clients to experience the site and nature. With the four buildings positioned to spill open to the central courtyard, the design is oriented toward family life and entertaining.

“Second homes are about adventure, and they are the homes that leave the most indelible memories. The best way to do that is to make them unconventional.” –Tom Kundig

Public areas, including the family room, kitchen and bar are grouped together in the main ‘A1’ building. Private areas – the master bedroom, kids’ bedroom, and den – are more secluded in the ‘A2’ building. Guest rooms are connected to the buildings but isolated to allow for independent use. The sauna sits removed from the other buildings with a framed view looking out over the valley below.

Tough building materials, mostly steel and glass, were utilized to stand up to the equally tough environmental conditions– from hot, fire-prone summers to winters with heavy snow pack. The wood siding used throughout the project was salvaged from an old barn in nearby Spokane, WA. The varying tones of the wood reveal its history and use. Over time as the wood and steel weather, the home will become more and more muted in appearance, blending into the landscape.

Project Team: Tom Kundig, FAIA, Design Principal; Mark Olthoff, AIA, LEED AP, Project Manager; Gus Lynch, LEED AP, Project Staff; Debbie Kennedy, LEEP AP ID+C, Interior Design

Contractor: Schuchart/Dow Construction

Photographer: Benjamin Benschneider

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