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This is one of the Maxon family's favorite Tom Kundig projects: a 1,000 square-foot weekend cabin, basically a steel box on stilts, that can be completely shuttered using a hand crank when the owner is away.

Building the Maxon House: Week 25

In our latest Backstory series, Seattleite Lou Maxon recounts the thrills and trials of ditching the suburbs, buying property, and designing and building a modern house with Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects. Week 25: Q & A with Tom Kundig. Last week we profiled our contractor Tanner Construction for insights into their process and involvement with the project. For week 25 we turned to Tom Kundig over at Olson Kundig Architects to get the firm's take on working with us on our future residence. When you engage with an architect or architecture firm you spend a considerable amount of time communicating, meeting, debating and making critical decisions that impact your project. A bond is formed between client and architect and the relationship grows over the course of the project, which helps inspire and cultivate new ideas that may find their way into the final built object. It was critical to us during our selection process to find a firm that was willing to listen, respond to our ideas and have the confidence and experience to elevate and inspire the design throughout the process. We found that with Tom Kundig and Olson Kundig Architects. Enjoy the interview.  
August 31, 2011
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Gerald Parsonson's Favorite Buildings

I've admired Kiwi architect Gerald Parsonson's work for some time. There are so many strong projects on his firm's website, including the one we featured in our June issue—his own beach house, inspired by New Zealand's traditional "bach" architecture. So I was curious to hear what three buildings most inspire him and influence his own work.   "I have a very broad appetite for architecture so it was quite hard to choose 'favorites,'" Parsonson wrote in response to my query. Pressed to identify a link between his eclectic choices—detailed below—he said: "I enjoy architecture that explores and expands the resonance of place, that can frame things in ways that are unexpected or beautiful. There is so much generic modernism produced these days that I find it exciting to discover architecture that transforms normal situations into something unique and special and in doing so becomes unique itself. I think these three buildings, even though they are quite different, do this for me."
August 29, 2011
Right: Grand Central Station shot by David Iliff (via <a href="">Wikimedia Commons</a>)

Jeff Sherman's Favorite Buildings

For this week's "Three Buildings" column I turned to Jeff Sherman of the New York architecture firm Delson or Sherman. We're featuring his painstakingly hand-renovated home (a formerly decrepit illegal kennel!) in our September issue ("New Prospects," online here) as well as in an online behind-the-scenes video here.   "If I had to choose just three favorite buildings, I’d say Grand Central Terminal in New York City, the Yale School of Architecture in New Haven, and the Mill Owners' Association Building in Ahmedabad—they all make my heart jump," says Sherman. "These buildings have a couple big things in common:  in all three, form transcends program, and all are subversively occupiable. By that, I mean that the shapes of the buildings dramatically exceed their humble practical requirements, and they all offer access to spaces that feel off-limits. These buildings showed me what architecture could be."
August 23, 2011
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Building the Maxon House: Week 23

In our latest Backstory series, Seattleite Lou Maxon recounts the thrills and trials of ditching the suburbs, buying property, and designing and building a modern house with Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects. Week 23: A Maxon House Commission   Last week I talked about some of the challenges, obstacles and unexpected headaches of our project. On a brighter note,  I ended with the sentiment "shouldn't this be fun?" So, welcome to week 23. One of the joys of the journey is stepping away from the minutia of the day-to-day tasks and remembering that there is a fun side to the project. Easily one of my favorite parts of my design career and being a creative is collaborating and commissioning world-class artists, from photographers to illustrators, to help tell stories for brands and bring ideas and raw concepts to life. Just as an architect has his go-to craftsman or material palette, I too have my stable of favorites that I've collaborated with over the years.   One opportunity with our project was to think about ways to bring art and craftsmanship into our future home by collaborating with artists and craftsmen. One of my favorite artists has always been Gary Taxali, a Toronto, Canada-based artist (blurry photo below!). As part of our project we decided to commission Taxali to do a print that could eventually hang in the entrance to our house—something that would embody the creativity, art and craft of the project.
August 10, 2011
All photographs by <a href="">Heriberto Ibarra</a>.

Light Lines Exhibition

We at Dwell know Jay Atherton and Cy Keener mostly as architects; we profiled them and their beautiful extreme-minimalist house in Phoenix in our December/January 2011 issue (story online here). But they also explore their concepts and interests through the medium of installation art, including a show that featured 1,200 pounds of slowly melting and dripping ice at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art last summer. So I was intrigued to hear about their latest project, an exhibition entitled "Light Lines" at the University of Texas at El Paso's Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, on view until September 21st. Using simple materials—wire, eye hooks, paper soaked with plaster, mirrors—the show has transformed the Rubin Gallery into a vessel of light. Sculpted walkways reflect and refract sunlight from mirrors that are strategically placed in the hills surrounding the Rubin Center. Here's a look at the exhibition, as well as a behind-the-scenes peek at the installation process. All photographs by Heriberto Ibarra.
August 2, 2011
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Building the Maxon House: Week 21

During the process of planning, designing, and ultimately constructing our future home, we discovered inspiration, resources, and motivation in a plethora of places, both online and off. These range from individuals blogging (like us), to companies providing practical information, to brands (like Dwell) that connect those interested in modern architecture. There are plenty of other books and places you can go to find ideas and resources, and I encourage readers to share their favorites in the comments below. Our hope with sharing our story is to not only pass on the things we've found, but to inspire others to make the leap and go after their own dream project. The trek towards a finished house is a lengthy one and some days you think it will never end. On those days, these inspirations and resources kept us motivated. We hope you find that they provide the same for you, no matter where you are in the process.   In our latest Backstory series, Seattleite Lou Maxon recounts the thrills and trials of ditching the suburbs, buying property, and designing and building a modern house with Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects. Week 21: Inspiration and Resources.
July 27, 2011
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Modern Meets Historic in Denmark

This conference center, designed by the Amsterdam-based firm SeARCH, is an extension of a 14th-century Danish farm and building. Designed for Novo Nordisk a/s, the biggest insulin producer in the world, the building contains an auditorium, offices, restaurants, meeting rooms, sports and fitness facilities, and guest rooms—and aims to represent a more dynamic model for what a conference center can be. Here's a look inside. All photos by Iwan Baan.
July 25, 2011
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Building the Maxon House: Week 20

In our latest Backstory series, Seattleite Lou Maxon recounts the thrills and trials of ditching the suburbs, buying property, and designing and building a modern house with Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects. Week 20: Sneak Preview: Maxon House Documentary Film Series.   Kontent Partners is a Seattle/L.A./New York-based creative production company and the filmmakers and producers behind the Maxon House documentary film series. In Week 20 of our Maxon House blog, Kontent Partners and Maxon House director Craig Brooks share the second in a series of film trailers for the upcoming series. Like the blog, this trailer (and series in progress) offers a sneak peek into the real-life process of designing, concepting and ultimately building a modern dwelling for a family of five. With this documentary, Kontent Partners celebrates the individual stories of the designers, contractors, subcontractors, artisans and craftspeople that have had a critical hand in the ultimate creation of Maxon House.
July 20, 2011
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Hollywood Renovation: Week 11

When you have a small footprint and you need more space, sometimes the only place to go is up. Our downstairs space is only 750 square feet and accommodates both living and working, so space is at a premium. We wanted to maintain our office space as a compressed six-foot-wide zone along the 38-foot-long north wall, and add storage space for samples, models, binders, coats, and bags. Hanging shelving or artwork in a space with only wood and brick walls presents a challenge, too, since we want to minimize change to the historical structure and to retain the openness of the space. So we decided to add a long minimal shelf along the brick wall and a series of simple pegs on the wood wall.   In this exclusive series for, Linda Taalman of Taalman Koch Architecture tracks the hands-on renovation of her and her partner's live-work space in Hollywood, California. Week 11: Installing vertical storage.
July 17, 2011