Skip to Content
photo of Chicken Point Cabin
Photo: Benjamin Benschneider

Chicken Point Cabin

Northern Idaho

Chicken Point Cabin

Northern Idaho

  • Design Principal

    Tom Kundig

The owners of Chicken Point Cabin 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 use the house year-round, but especially during the summer, when the weather can get oppressively hot. Their directive was simple: make the house as open to the water as possible. The design response to this challenge was as direct as the request: a large pivoting picture window on the water side that literally opens the house to the landscape.

A manual hand-crank opens the 20-by-30-foot window wall. Employing a counterbalance principle through a set of gears, like that of a bicycle, allows a 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.

A plywood loft containing the master suite is suspended into the concrete-block shell and overlooks the living space, while additional bedrooms and service spaces are saddlebagged on the two sides of the main volume.

Chicken Point Cabin is a tactile house that asks you to physically engage before it opens up, dissolving the boundaries between inside and outside. The big movable glass and steel window is an unapologetic reminder of the wonder of old‑fashioned, hands‑on mechanical physics, something we often take for granted today. It excites our visual senses, and it reacquaints us with the magic of the physical forces that surround us. Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA




Residential Architect Design Awards, Grand Award


AIA National Honor Awards, Honor Award

Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Awards, American Architecture Award


AIA Northwest and Pacific Region Honor Awards, Honor Award


AIA Seattle Honor Awards, Honor Award



Diehl, Tom. Internal: Developing Informed Architectural Language, New York: ORO Editions, 2021. Book.

Franklin, Sydney. “Architectural Details: Olson Kundig’s Chicken Point Cabin.” Architizer, 28 Jan. 2021. Podcast.


Camillo, Paola. “Tom Kundig.” Contract Book, #3 / Jul. 2020, 108-112. Print.

Thakrar, Tina. “In Conversation with Olson Kundig.” Good Homes India, 20 Jul. 2020. Web.


Mollard, Manon. “Retrospective Olson Kundig.” The Architectural Review, 13 Aug. 2018. Web.

“Retrospective Olson Kundig.” The Architectural Review, July/Aug. 2018. Print.