Built on Stilts: Tom Kundig's Sol Duc Cabin
Three years ago I called Tom Kundig TreeHugger's first Best of Green Architect of the year, saying:
There shouldn't be any such thing as "green architecture"--it should be built into every building and taken for granted. It should be standard operating procedure. Whenever we show the work of Tom Kundig, we are asked, "Why is this green?" I think it is when it does the right thing without hitting you over the head.
It was a controversial choice, given that we are talking about getaways for the wealthy, but that's where the clients are, and when I look at his latest, the Sol Duc Cabin, I remain convinced that nobody does this better. He describes the features of the 350 square foot fishing cabin on stilts:
© Olson Kundig Architects/ Benjamin Benschneider
Composed of two levels, the cabin’s entry, dining and kitchen areas are located on the lower floor while a sleeping loft hovers above. A cantilevered steel deck extends from the lower level, providing unimpeded views of the river. Constructed primarily of unfinished, mild steel and structural insulated panels (SIPs), the cabin is supported by four steel columns and sits lightly on the site.
Most of the structure—the steel frame and panels, the roof, shutters, and stairs—was prefabricated off-site, thereby reducing onsite waste and site disruption. Prefabrication kept typical construction wastage to a minimum. With a cantilevered roof that provides solar shading and protection from the elements. Each of the building’s shutters can be opened and closed with hand wheels that move the shutters over the glazed portions of each façade. The shutters are operated by a series of mechanical devices including a hand wheel, drive shafts, u-joints, spur gears and cables.