Recalling the tradition of wagons around a campfire, an image quintessential to the Wild West, Studhorse by Olson Kundig is a series of four buildings encircling a courtyard and pool in the rugged terrain of Washington’s Methow Valley. Designed as a second home for an active family, the complex includes a public building, private quarters, guest rooms, and a detached sauna. The structures are sited on the crest of the 20-acre property, enjoying a stunning panorama. "How the buildings shape the views, particularly those of the surrounding Studhorse Ridge Mountains and Pearrygin Lake, became critical to the design process," says principal architect Tom Kundig.
Studhorse encourages a sense of exploration and a personal connection to the land. From taking a dip in the pool to having a drink at the indoor-outdoor bar, there are plenty of opportunities to engage with the environment. In a sense, Kundig explains, the home poses inconveniences because it compels you to cross from building to building. "But the clients and I see them as terrific moments, unforgettable moments," he says. "Adventure is about inconvenience in that it reaffirms and reminds you of where you live." He goes on to liken it to his love of mountain climbing: "While it may seem romantic, it’s also uncomfortable. And scary. You’re cold, hot, sore. Why would anyone do it, if they thought about it logically? But it’s about engaging life vigorously."
"Adventure is about inconvenience in that it reaffirms and reminds you of where you live." -Tom Kundig
The home makes use of steel, glass, concrete, and reclaimed wood—a hearty material palette that "[was] chosen for their resilience against the scorching summer sun and freezing, windy winters that define the region," shares Kundig. As it weathers, the residence will further melt into the landscape, making Studhorse a true expression of the family’s relationship to the setting, and each other. Says Kundig, "The clients are great parents and are always undertaking adventures as a mindful, deliberate way of developing memories as a family."
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