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Studio House
Photo: Michael Burns

Studio House

Seattle, Washington

Studio House

Seattle, Washington

  • Design Principal

    Tom Kundig

A combination home and photographer’s studio, the project is an exploration of memories and their potential to resonate over time. Remnant landscape elements, building geometries and materials from the previous home on the site reappear in the new building. These fragments act as artifacts that recall earlier times.

The design reflects this theme with the new plan is laid over that of the old one, turned 13 degrees to take better advantage of views. Entry is through a two-story steel lantern placed between the foundation wall of the old house and the walls of the new one. The primary interior volume is a two-story space used both as the main living area and as a photographic studio. It captures the outdoors through a large open west wall that incorporates shading devices when needed. The bold structural steel frame and the concrete walls are left raw, allowed to age naturally to show the passage of time. A curved roof diffuses natural and artificial ambient light. There is an armature of unfinished steel cantilevers over the room to accommodate general room lighting, fans, and studio lighting. Open metal stairs and landings align with the old and new geometries.

At one end of this main space is a tall box containing the kitchen and pantry below, and bedrooms and baths above. Conceived as a cabinet, its upper floor projects like an open drawer and is purposely left in a raw state of finish. At the other end, a photo workroom and office form a second inserted volume. Heavy concrete perimeter walls wrap the building protectively on three sides. The curved roof and garage rooftop structures are covered in subtly reflective lead-coated copper.




AIA Summit 2000 Western International Design Awards, Merit Award


AIA Northwest and Pacific Region Honor Awards, Honor Award


AIA Seattle Honor Awards, Merit Award



Iovine, Julie V. “Essences of Ease Part 2.” The New York Times, 14 April 1996, 19. Print.