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