whistler ski house

Tom kundig’s sig­na­ture rus­tic mod­ernism blends clean lines with nat­u­ral el­e­ments in this Whistler ski House, writes shel­ley Travers.

Signature Travel & Lifestyle - - Contents -

Tom Kundig’s ver­sa­tile lake­side res­i­dence is a mod­ern sanc­tu­ary.

acul­ture of col­lab­o­ra­tion – with one another and the world around them – un­der­lines the ethos of Ol­son kundig, a full-ser­vice design firm based in seat­tle. Led by five own­ers, in­clud­ing renowned ar­chi­tect Tom kundig, their work in­cludes com­mer­cial design projects, art gal­leries, winer­ies and pri­vate houses.

Tom kundig’s lat­est project, a moun­tain lodge in Whistler, Canada, emerges from the woods as a mod­ernist struc­ture tem­pered by rus­tic fea­tures in­spired by the nat­u­ral el­e­ments that sur­round it.

The way in which the house is de­signed typ­i­fies a style that is syn­ony­mous with kundig and which has gar­nered him awards such as a na­tional design award from the smith­so­nian Cooper-Hewitt na­tional design Mu­seum and an academy award in ar­chi­tec­ture from the amer­i­can academy of arts and Let­ters.

The Whistler ski Lodge com­prises two struc­tures con­nected by a glass-walled walk­way nearly 25 me­tres long and stretch­ing across the ter­rain. glass walls are an ar­chi­tec­tural theme in the home that has ex­pan­sive floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows open­ing up to views of Lake Wash­ing­ton and the for­est firs that cir­cle the home. The glass walls al­low the views to be en­joyed from all an­gles and pro­vides “a sense of oc­cu­py­ing the tree canopy, whilst also float­ing above snow­drifts and the flood-prone lake shore.”

Cre­at­ing works that are “a re­sponse to ob­serv­ing and par­tic­i­pat­ing in nat­u­ral land­scapes”, the kundig prin­ci­ple of design and ar­chi­tec­ture has be­come known as PUP: phys­i­cal, univer­sal and per­sonal.

Nat­u­ral con­nec­tion

kundig sees his de­signs as a phys­i­cal jour­ney from the per­sonal, to the univer­sal and re­turn­ing to the per­sonal with a new per­spec­tive. it is this prin­ci­ple that con­nects the struc­tures kundig de­signs, the out­side world and the peo­ple who live in them.

Us­ing ma­te­ri­als such as wood, con­crete and rusted steel, kundig’s build­ings have a func­tional el­e­ment: his struc­tures work as part of the na­ture around them with the build­ing bend­ing to the en­vi­ron­ment.

“The pri­mary re­quire­ment was a home that could adapt to the harsh and var­ied moun­tain en­vi­ron­ment,” says kundig. “The weather in the Coast Moun­tains presents chal­lenges; it freezes, it thaws, it is hot, windy, snowy, and rainy –―the weather throws ev­ery­thing at the house.”

at ground level, there is a ski room and hot tub as well as a screened ter­race with a fire­place, whilst the liv­ing ar­eas of the home are el­e­vated three-and-a-half me­tres above the ground. To give pri­vacy, pro­vide se­cu­rity and to fil­ter Uv-in­ten­sive light, lou­vered steel shut­ters clad the glass walls of the house and are con­trolled with sim­ple switches and levers.

kundig de­signed the house to be open and part of na­ture in a way that a more solid struc­ture would not have al­lowed – it be­comes one with the ecosys­tem.

“The bridge al­lows the liv­ing wing to hug the far edge of the site as close to the lake as pos­si­ble and grants views of Whistler Moun­tain,” kundig ex­plains.

The larger wing of the home con­tains the liv­ing, kitchen, din­ing area, mas­ter bed­room, fit­ness room and a guest room. The smaller wing, or kids’ wing, has four rooms fur­nished with enough beds to ac­com­mo­date the fam­ily’s chil­dren and their friends, and leaves room for any fu­ture grand­chil­dren that might ar­rive.

De­signed for liv­ing

The home per­fectly cap­tures the life­style of the own­ers and was in­tended to pro­mote the gath­er­ing of all fam­ily mem­bers and friends in the liv­ing spa­ces. The liv­ing and din­ing ar­eas com­fort­ably ac­com­mo­date a dozen or more peo­ple with­out feel­ing crowded and yet are com­fort­able and cosy af­ter a long day of ski­ing.

van sickle design Con­sul­tants worked on the in­te­rior design of the home with Ol­son kundig and the own­ers. de­signer and cus­tom pieces fur­nish the lounge, kitchen and din­ing rooms with Ol­son kundig pro­vid­ing the black-

wal­nut din­ing ta­ble, liv­ing room pen­dant lights, fire­place screens and in­stru­ments, as well as the kitchen and pow­der room fin­ishes.

The re­sult­ing design is not only func­tional and fa­mil­iar but speaks of a new gen­er­a­tion of mod­ernist ar­chi­tects that will be re­called in the same way as we ref­er­ence Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip John­son.

Up­com­ing projects for the ar­chi­tect in­clude a va­ca­tion home in syd­ney’s Bil­gola Beach – some­thing that is sure to have kundig’s stamp on it, a style which he de­scribes as “ra­tio­nal, in­tu­itive and, hope­fully, au­then­tic”.


02 01 Mark­ing the oth­er­wise open-plan lounge space is a large van sickle design nepalese nat­u­ral wool car­pet and two vin­tage Finn Juhl Chief­tains chairs set by a cus­tom cof­fee ta­ble and bench 02 The spoon XL bath­tub in the mas­ter bath­room of­fers lux­ury bathing with views of the lake

03 03 The din­ing space is fur­nished with cus­tom pieces 04 The façade can trans­form from glass clad to com­pletely pro­tected with weath­ered steel shut­ters 05 a guest bed­room in the sec­ond wing



In Tom kundig: Works, the ar­chi­tect show­cases 19 new projects from New York to Seoul with rich pho­tog­ra­phy, draw­ings, sketches and per­sonal ac­counts. RRP US$65 from www.pa­press.com

06 06 The stun­ning views can be en­joyed from all an­gles 07 The un­der­neath of the home, de­signed for oc­ca­sional use, echoes the in­te­rior aes­thetic.


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