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Glass, Concrete, Steel, and Stone: Tom Kundig's Northwest Houses

Photos: Benjamin Benschneider/Olson Kundig

Architect Tom Kundig, a principal at Seattle-based Olson Kundig Architects, has produced some of the most talked about—and blogged about—houses in recent memory. A Louis Kahn-like affinity for bare concrete, combined with a personal obsession with raw steel, gives Kundig's creations a distinctive personality that favors starkly presented materials over austere white boxes. That modern interpretation of, well, modernism has Kundig's designs winning acclaim, even years after their completion. The Chicken Point Cabin, located on Lake Hayden in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, was built in 2002, but continues to win over aesthetes with its operable wall of windows, stunning site, rustic materials, and unique details, like a steel fireplace cut from a recycled section of an Alaskan oil pipeline.

Photos: Paul Warchol/Olson Kundig

? The Studio House in Seattle, Wash. was built back in 1998, but with its tessellated glass facade, shamelessly rusted steel support beams, and concrete interior walls, it has all the features of a more recent Kundig design. A combination home and photo studio, the house has a great room equipped with studio-grade ceiling lighting.

Tim Bies/Olson Kundig

? Built in 2006 in the forests of Skykomish, Wash., the Tye River Cabin is described on the firm's website as "essentially a wooden tent on a platform that opens to the forest and river." Measuring just 600 square feet, the cabin certainly encourages an outward orientation toward nature, particularly with the rotating glass panels that allow entire walls of the structure to open to the surrounding patio.

Photos: Benjamin Benschneider/Olson Kundig

? For a client obsessed with a rocky outcrop on their San Juan Islands, Wash. property, Kundig drew up a low-profile design in 2010 that integrated the new house into the surrounding landscape. With a green roof and concrete exterior walls that blend with the nearby stone, The Pierre is nearly invisible from certain angles, but still manages to pack in some trademark steel windows to capture the water views.

Photos: Jason Schmidt/Olson Kundig

? Also built last year on the San Juan Islands, the Shadowboxx combines a more conventional profile with the oversized portals that are becoming a Kundig trademark. The front windows can be completely concealed by a series of floor to ceiling corrugated doors, offering protection from the harsh island winds, while a whimsical "bath house" wing has a roof that pivots up to allow for open air bathing.

· Chicken Point Cabin [Olson Kundig]
· Studio House [Olson Kundig]
· Tye River Cabin [Olson Kundig]
· The Pierre [Olson Kundig]
· Shadowboxx [Olson Kundig]