Olson Kundig Architects Design A Retreat Nestled In Rocks

The Pierre House, San Juan Islands, United States By Architect Tom Kundig

Conceived as a secure retreat (nearly a “bunker”) nestled into a rock, the Pierre (the French for ‘stone’) celebrates the physical ruggedness of this site. From certain angles, the house – with its rough materials, encompassing stone, green roof and surrounding foliage – almost disappears into nature.

To set the house deep into the site, portions of the rock outcropping were excavated. Excavated rock was re-used as crushed aggregate in the concrete flooring. Excavation marks were left exposed on all the stonework, a reminder of the building process. Throughout the house, the rock extrudes into the space, contrasting with the luxurious textures of the furnishings.

Interior and exterior fireplace hearths are carved out of existing stone; leveled and smoothed on top, they are otherwise left raw. The master bathroom’s sink is composed of water cascading through three polished pools in the existing stone. Both the entry and a powder room are fully carved out of the rock.

With the exception of an upper-level guest suite, the Pierre house’s main functions reside on the main level, with an open plan kitchen, dining and living space. A large pivoting steel and glass door opens for access to an outdoor terrace. Its two large bookcases open to provide concealed access to laundry and kitchen storage.


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