House Fortress Built Within Rocks (11 pics)

Nestled inside large rocks on the San Juan Islands off Washington State, you will find Merrill Wright's incredible house fortress. Designed by Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects, the concrete and glass house looks as though it bursts through the rocks on which it stands.

The 2,200-square-foot box consists of a main space, 61 feet long and 12 feet high, with a large kitchen at the back and a living and dining area overlooking the waterfront. The house includes three bedrooms, with one tucked beneath the house. My favorite part, though, is the master bathroom’s sink, where water runs down through a series of small bowls that were cut into the rock and polished smooth.

To set the house deep into the site, portions of the rock outcropping were excavated using a combination of machine work and handwork. The contractor used large drills to set the outline of the building, then used dynamite, hydraulic chippers, a selection of wire saws and other hand tools, working with finer and finer implements as construction progressed.

The site’s rocky outcropping seemed to Kundig a perfect place to put the house. It reminded him of Native American cliff dwellings or Greek and Italian hill towns. ‘‘Our ancestors did not put their houses on the most fertile parts of the land,’’ he explained.

‘‘At the end of the project, I realized that what I wanted was a fortress," said Wright. "He just knew that. And he got this ‘inside the rock’ thing. It wasn’t going to be sitting on the rock, it was going to be in the rock.’’

Olson Kundig Architects
photographs by Dwight Eschliman
via [ny times]

Views: 6189

Tags: Architecture, Built, Fortress, House, Olson Kundig Architects, Rock, Within

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Comment by Solomon Hwang on April 13, 2014 at 12:48pm

dream home. except that hideous chandelier.

Comment by marguerite on March 16, 2011 at 12:58am
Found my dream house. I'll start saving tomorrow.
Comment by Cleber Carvalho on December 2, 2010 at 9:23am
Não sei se alguém aqui falar portugês, mas esta é a casa que eu sempre projetei na cabeça.
Comment by Shane Dunlevy on November 29, 2010 at 9:02pm
Kundig is on a roll. his homes, studios, cabins all possess a sense of individuality, yet you can see his design sense in all the projects.
Comment by sAm on November 22, 2010 at 3:57pm
I love how the house integrates so seamlessly.
Comment by Jason Hammond on November 22, 2010 at 12:58pm
AWESOME HOUSE! My house features concrete as well and it's a beautiful substrate.
Comment by Vinicius Betton on November 20, 2010 at 7:45pm
OMG!.. nice project! good job! beautiful post!
Comment by Sophie on November 20, 2010 at 10:38am
love the use of different materials expecially in the living room.
Comment by gamze seder on November 20, 2010 at 2:34am
Concrete walls everywhere. :(
Comment by Jason Coulston on November 19, 2010 at 2:16pm
Ughh. These glorious, spectacular homes that you find make me crazy. I guess I just need to go start a company, go public, and sell my stock for a cool hundred million and I'll be good to go.


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