About
116AR

Olson Kundig

Chicken Point Cabin

2000–2003

The owners of Chicken Point Cabin and their two young children bought the waterfront property—located half an hour from their house in northern Idaho—in order to build a lakeside cabin. Their intent was to be able to use the house year-round, but especially during the summer, when the local weather can get oppressively hot. Their only directive to Tom was simple: make the house as open to the water as possible. Tom’s response to this challenge was as direct as the request: a large pivoting picture window on the waterside that literally opens up to the landscape. “Little house, big window,” in Tom’s words.

This direct and powerful gesture imposed a multitude of design and technical challenges. At first a simple counter- balance device using sandbags was proposed, then a power-generated mechanical system that treats the twenty- foot-by-thirty-foot window as a large garage door. The desire to design something that required direct action by the user, however, proved to be too irresistible. The final solution is a hand-cranked mechanical contraption employing a counterbalance principle through a set of gears, like that of a bicycle, that allow minimal input of force to pivot the six-ton steel and glass window. Although the gizmo employs sophisticated mechanical engineering, the result is not unlike the opening of a tent flap, allowing fresh air and unimpeded views to enter the cabin proper.

Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
West and South Elevations, February 15, 2001
Chicken Point Cabin
Building Section, September 8, 2000
Chicken Point Cabin
Box, 2000–2003
Chicken Point Cabin
Big Window Gizmo, 2000–2003
Chicken Point Cabin
Axel Window, 2000–2003
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
Chicken Point Cabin
47°46'47.9"N 116°41'05.6"W

Location: Idaho, USA
Type: House

Project Team: Tom Kundig - Steven Rainville - Debbie Kennedy
Area: 3’400.0 ft²
Photography: Benjamin Benschneider - Ündine Prohl - Mark Darley
Drawings: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum


Posted: October 2016
Category: Architecture

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