The Rolling Huts are several steps above camping, while remaining low-tech and low-impact in their design. The six huts sit lightly on the site, which is a flood plain meadow in an alpine river valley. The wheels lift the structures above the meadow, providing space for native grasses to grow and allowing unobstructed views of the surrounding mountains.
The construction of each hut is simple. It is, in essence, an offset, steel-clad box on a steel and wood platform. Walls are topped by clerestory windows, over which a sips panel roof floats in an inverted, lopsided “V.” At the north end of each hut, a double-paned sliding glass door opens to the outside. Living occurs not only in the 200 square feet inside the box, but also on the 240 square feet of covered deck space surrounding it. Interior finishes – cork and plywood – are simple, inexpensive, and left as raw as possible. Exteriors are durable, no-maintenance materials: steel, plywood, and car-decking. The raw character of the materials responds and integrates with the natural setting.
The six huts are grouped as a herd: while each is sited toward a view of the mountains – and away from the other structures – their proximity unites them. Showers are located in a centrally located barn, set a short distance from the herd. Rain and snowmelt from each hut are allowed to percolate into the surrounding landscape. In form, siting, scale and materiality, the huts defer to the meadows and forests of the Methow Valley.
Many of my projects, including Rolling Huts, demonstrate contrast—the intertwining of public and private, inside and outside, enclosed versus exposed. Sometimes, there is even an element of risk, or daring, which is desired on the client’s part and intentional on my part. It’s about encouraging people to engage with their surroundings, but it’s also about needing contrast in order to have a complete experience. It’s the yin and the yang.Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA
AIA Northwest and Pacific Region Honor Awards, Honor Award
Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Awards, American Architecture Award
Residential Architect Design Awards, Grand Award: Outbuilding
Architectural Record: Record Houses, Record House
AIA Seattle Honor Awards, Merit Award
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