Bigwood

Section sketch looking east
Cantilevered living room creates protected courtyard spaces below, balancing significant views with intimate spaces
Two wings connected by glass bridge
Concrete curtain wall and steel structure
Roof slope angles reference nearby mountains
Floor Plan: Main Level
Floor Plan: Lower Level
Interiors feature custom Kundig-designed furniture
Custom automotive paint highlights main entrance
Custom counterbalanced steel light fixture
Kinetic window-wall connects interior/exterior
Anchored on the east end, the house grows out of the landscape

Primary Author

  • Tom Kundig

Contributing Authors

  • Edward Lalonde (Project Manager)
  • Jamie Slagel (Project Architect)
  • Chris Gerrick (Staff)

Author

  • Jack Anderson

Photographers

  • Benjamin Benschneider

Objectives

The clients wanted a modern house that would feel authentic to the high desert mountain landscape. So it is rugged; the client calls the style “mountain industrial.” Everything that touches the earth is stone and board-formed concrete, and everything that projects out is steel and glass. The roof is made of corrugated weathered steel and slopes slightly. The wood finishes on the interior are intended to make the occupant feel warm and protected, in weather that can at times drop to minus 20 degrees.

Context

At the initial site visit the owner and designer immediately had the idea for a building that seems to be emerging out of the landscape. The east end of the house is buried, while the two projecting west-facing wings have unobstructed 270-degree views of Bald Mountain, Griffin Butte, and Adams Gulch. The house takes advantage of all the site has to offer: sweeping landscape views, balanced with a sense of being underneath, within. Likewise, the two main sections have windows onto a central courtyard, and the pivot wall opens to face it as well. The idea was to create more intimate moments that would balance the big views.

Performance

There are patios under the cantilevered sections; it’s a two-for-one solution in which you get some shaded recreational space in the summer, and keep the building well above the snow line in the winter. The cantilevers are supported by masts that are also see-through fireplaces. The one supporting the main section is in fact two fireplaces: one indoors (in the great room above) and one outdoors (in the patio below). The wings are connected by a steel-and-glass bridge with a south-facing wall that pivots entirely open. It’s twenty-five feet long and counterbalanced overhead by a large steel weight that sits five feet above the roof. The hand-wheel crank that operates it is attached to an eight-foot-long screw.

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Section sketch looking east