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The Pierre in San Juan Islands, Washington by Olson Kundig Architects
January 21st, 2014 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: Olson Kundig Architects
The owner’s affection for a stone outcropping on her property and the views from its peak inspired the design of this house. Conceived as a bunker nestled in the rock, the Pierre (French 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 completely disappears into nature.
With the exception of a separate guest suite, the house functions on one main level, with an open plan kitchen and dining and living space. Two large bookcases open to provide concealed access to laundry and kitchen storage. A large pivoting steel and glass door opens for access to an outdoor terrace. Set at a right angle to the main spaces, the master suite features a custom-designed bed with a leather headboard and footboard set in the middle of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. The sink in the master bathroom is composed in water cascading through three polished pools in the existing stone.
Throughout the house, the rock extrudes into the space, contrasting with the textures of the furnishings. Interior and exterior fireplace hearths are carved out of existing stone; leveled on top, they are otherwise left raw.
To set the house deep into the site, portions of the rock outcropping were excavated using a combination of machine work and handwork. Excavated rock was reused as crushed aggregate in the concrete flooring and in a boulder wall in the carport. This reuse eliminated significant costs in having to haul waste from the site. A green roof added a pervious surface to an area where there was none previously; this slows down storm water run-off through absorption and evaporation.
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