Lakeside Chicken Point Cabin
Olson Kundig Architects idea for the Chicken Point Cabin was to create a lakeside shelter in the woods. This nifty little cabin features a large 9 x 6 m window that opens to the surrounding landscape. They used unfinished low maintenance Materials like,concrete block, steel, concrete floors and plywood that would naturally age and acquire a patina that fits in with the natural setting.
“There’s a natural beauty in the way things work…it’s primal. To make something that makes you stop and think, even momentarily, about how something moves or changes direction connects us intimately to the natural forces in our world.” – Tom Kundig / Design Principal
This house stands out for its extraordinary architectural solution – a movable window-wall that erases the bordering between in and out. The project is situated near by Hayden Lake, USA and an area of 316 sqm. The studio, Olson Kundig Architects has designed the special wall with size of 9 x 6 m. What makes this wall so special is that the integrated cam-gear mechanism assures its easy opening even by a small child.
The development of space is quite spectacular. The idea sounds like one of those shelters that can be seen in the forest to observe the animals. Here we see the lake in front. A large window lets light in this cube built with fairly simple materials.
Manufactured concrete blocks, plywood, wood, concrete and steel, a mixture quite common here in construction, but this time it has given life to the sketches made by the architectural firm Olson Kundig. I would like to get into my loft, the same spirit of freedom that inspires this project. Nature has all the power. The forest dominates the environment and the large window that opens and closes simply appeals to me due to its originality and ease of use.
The idea of the cube can be found on the walls with concrete blocks. The work of the rectangle and the square is perfect harmony and seems to invade the loft. By observing and having had the chance to visit the loft, I noticed that the room on the first floor provided a unique use of the space. The walls are inlaid with openings which are closed by sliding panels of wood. They are closed, they are opened and it is a duplex printing available to us. The bed is placed facing the lake where I could admire this sublime landscape. The light was perfect and the sunsets cannot be more dramatic.
“The idea for the cabin is that of a lakeside shelter in the woods—a little box with a big window that opens to the surrounding landscape. The cabin’s big window-wall (30 feet by 20 feet) opens the entire living space to the forest and lake. Materials are low maintenance—concrete block, steel, concrete floors and plywood—in keeping with the notion of a cabin, and left unfinished to naturally age and acquire a patina that fits in with the natural setting. The cabin sleeps ten.
The use of color and texture are important in the interior of this casual family cabin. Strong blocks of color help to define space and direct the eye. Texture in furnishings provides a soft but strong counterpoint to the hard, raw material palette. Custom tables using plywood and polyurethane create a direct connection to the architecture while providing durability and function. Some of the unique interior features include the custom continuous steel pipe fireplace, the wood slab work surface supported by a truck suspension spring, and the custom stainless steel bathroom sink.” Olson Kundig Architects / House’s Features
Olson Kundig Architects
The owners of Chicken Point Cabin and their two young children bought the waterfront property—located half an hour from their house in northern Idaho—in order to build a lakeside cabin. Their intent was to be able to use the house year-round, but especially during the summer, when the local weather can get oppressively hot. Their only directive to Tom was simple: make the house as open to the water as possible. Tom’s response to this challenge was as direct as the request: a large pivoting picture window on the waterside that literally opens up to the landscape. “Little house, big window,” in Tom’s words.
This direct and powerful gesture imposed a multitude of design and technical challenges. At first a simple counter- balance device using sandbags was proposed, then a power-generated mechanical system that treats the twenty- foot-by-thirty-foot window as a large garage door. The desire to design something that required direct action by the user, however, proved to be too irresistible. The final solution is a hand-cranked mechanical contraption employing a counterbalance principle through a set of gears, like that of a bicycle, that allow minimal input of force to pivot the six-ton steel and glass window. Although the gizmo employs sophisticated mechanical engineering, the result is not unlike the opening of a tent flap, allowing fresh air and unimpeded views to enter the cabin proper.
Project name: Chicken Point Cabin
Location: Chicken Point, Hayden Lake, Kootenai County, Idaho, United States
Coordinates: 47.782727, -116.689920
- Type By Characteristic: Cabin / Hut / Cottage,
- Type By Site: Lake House
- Type By Size: Medium House – (201 sqm – 450 sqm)
- Type By Materials: Concrete House
Project Area: 316 sqm
Project Year: 2002
Completion Year: 2003
Client / Owner / Developer: Private
Architects: Olson Kundig Architects, Seattle, Washington 98104, United States
Design Principal: Tom Kundig, FAIA
Project Architect: Steven Rainville
Interior Designer: Debbie Kennedy
Gizmo Fabricator and Engineer: Turner Exhibits
Structural Engineering: Monte Clark Engineering
Design & Build Mechanical system: Moser, Inc.
Craftspeople: All New Glass (big window); Star Steel (steel structure, bong); Steve Clark (table fabricator, cabinets, beds)
Contractor: MC Construction
Text Description: © Courtesy of Olson Kundig Architects
Images: © Benjamin Benschneider, Mark Darley, Undine Prohl, Tim Bies