The design of Shadowboxx facilitates meditations on community/togetherness in a remote place. The site for this island retreat is a remote point of land on an island in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The house is tucked between a thicket of trees and a rising bank, in a natural clearing created by strong winds that force back the trees from the rocky bank. Views from the house are directed towards the Olympic Mountains.
The design redefines the relationship between a built structure and its natural surroundings. The home’s masses are modeled by winds off the water; exterior steel cladding is naturally weathered to blend in with the trees; and moveable doors, shutters, walls, and roofs constantly shift the threshold between inside and outside.
A hearth lies at the center of the home: a steel chimney pipe that doubles as a structural support. On either side of the hearth, steel-clad doors slide open to connect the gallery and kitchen space with the main living space, called the cloud room. Walled with glass, it contains six custom-designed rolling platforms that serve as both sofas and beds, enabling the room to morph into a communal sleeping area. Exterior awning shutters face the water; they can be closed for protection from the elements or for security when the owner is away.
The main area of the house is bookended by the more intimate areas: a guest room and a bathhouse. The bathhouse, set at the east end of the home, is also designed to be a communal experience, with straight views into the space from the gallery, and dual Japanese soaking tubs. At the push of a button, the bathhouse roof can open like a cigar box lid; it is engineered with a 5,500-pound steel counterweight, two steel pivot hinges, and two pairs of counter-rotating lifting arms. Combined with sliding and pivoting steel and glass doors, the space can completely open to the elements.
Tactile materials are used throughout the house, including rammed earth floors, reclaimed oak floorplanks, unpainted gypsum board and steel walls, corrugated steel siding and roofing, and reclaimed scaffolding planks for the ceiling.Location: Lopez Island, Washington, USA Architect: Olson Kundig Architects Project name: Shadowboxx
Size: 3,500 SF Project team: Tom Kundig, FAIA, design principal; Jon Gentry, LEED AP, project manager Contractor: Krekow Jennings
Consultants: MCE Structural Consultants (structural engineering); VIEKMAN (interior design); Turner Exhibits (gizmo engineering); Bird Electric (electric engineering); CIP Plumbing & Heating (mechanical engineering)