Olson Kundig is an American architecture and design firm led by five owners: Jim Olson, Tom Kundig, Kirsten r. Murray, Alan Maskin, Hemanshu Parwani, and Kevin Kudo-King. The firm work includes residences (often for art collectors), museums and exhibition design, hospitality projects, commercial design, academic buildings, interior design, visual identities, etc. It was founded by architect Jim Olson in 1967. His work was towards explorations of the relationship between dwellings and landscapes. He started the firm based on the essential idea that buildings can serve as a bridge between nature, culture, histories, and people, and that inspire surroundings and have a positive effect on people’s lives. Over the years the firm has grown and broadened its expertise far beyond the residences. Their every project manifests around the idea of macro and microclimate. 

Dragonfly house

In today’s world, we all want to breathe out from the day-to-day routine of our lives. We all want to enjoy or spend time with our family and want to enjoy the time around nature. The team was able to identify this basic need of the family. Being around nature can indeed bring lots of good to our mental health as well as physical health. Keeping all of this in mind a house was created for a young family who can gather away from the city to enjoy their time. The basic concept of the house is to create a space where the family can enjoy and create memories staying away from the chaotic life of the city. The house directly connects them with nature as it has a forest as well as a lake around it.

Dragonfly House by Olson Kundig: The Crossing Point -Sheet1
Exterior view looking northwest_©olsonkundig.com/projects/dragonfly/
Dragonfly House by Olson Kundig: The Crossing Point -Sheet2
Exterior view looking north_©olsonkundig.com/projects/dragonfly/

The vacation house was built between Ponderosa pine forest and lake. The house is a framework that emphasizes the crossing point between these two ecological zones which are the forest and the lake. The house was designed to disappear into the forest giving an appearance of sitting lightly on the land like a dragonfly. If the house was seen from a distance, it allows the viewer to see through the house to the lake. When all the doors and windows of the house are open it gives it a transparent look giving it an effect of a single plinth floating in the air the forest land.

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Exterior View of the double highted living and dining area_©olsonkundig.com/projects/dragonfly/
Dragonfly House by Olson Kundig: The Crossing Point -Sheet4
Exterior view from the entrance_©olsonkundig.com/projects/dragonfly/

The exterior was created with the barn wood to help it to merge with the forest. The site was planned in a manner, connecting the forest and the house with a gravel path that also led down to the lake. The outdoors was designed in such a way with a pit fire, hot pool, and many other things so that the family can enjoy the whole area. The roof of the house has overhang shields that protect the house from the high summer. The guillotine doors are provided which can slide up to allow airflow into the house from inside and outside. Large windows are provided for cross ventilation which also helps to cool the house. Some small windows are also provided at the roof level which helps warm air to pull out warm air from the house. Native planting has also been done at the exterior to enhance the landscape.

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View of the upper deck area with fire pit_©olsonkundig.com/projects/dragonfly/
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View of the upper patio looking into the screened porch_©olsonkundig.com/projects/dragonfly/
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View of Kitchen and dining area_©olsonkundig.com/projects/dragonfly/

At the lower level, the entry was done with the patio which leads to a recreational area that connects to the tv room and the wine cellar. At this level, the mechanical room is also provided at the rear end.

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View of screened porch_©olsonkundig.com/projects/dragonfly/
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View of the screen porch and deck area_©olsonkundig.com/projects/dragonfly/
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View of master bathroom_©olsonkundig.com/projects/dragonfly/

Through the stairs when we reach the main level. From the entry at the southwest end, it has a screen porch connecting to a covered deck area. From the entry towards the northeast direction of the house, it has the pantry connecting with the kitchen and mudroom. The kitchen is further connected by an open-plan living and dining area, which has double-height guillotine window walls on either side. At the rare end of the house, it has a game room at this level.

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Surrounding view_©olsonkundig.com/projects/dragonfly/
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Stair connecting main level and upper level_©olsonkundig.com/projects/dragonfly/
Dragonfly House by Olson Kundig: The Crossing Point -Sheet13
View of the staircase inside the house_©olsonkundig.com/projects/dragonfly/

At the upper level, the house is divided into two parts. One part has the master bedroom with the master bathroom, and the other has all other bedrooms, bathrooms, and storage areas. Both ends of the house are connected with a long corridor.

The total area is 6500 sq.ft. and the construction was completed in the year 2016. The design was made in Whitefish, Montana, USA. The design principle of this project was Tom Kundig himself, the Project architect was Justin Hambrecht with an Interior designer as Debbie Kennedy and gizmo designer as Phil Turner.

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Interior view of the living room_©olsonkundig.com/projects/dragonfly/

As said by Tom Kundig, Faia, Riba, 

“Like a dragonfly, this house sits lightly on the land and disappears into the landscape. It quietly emerges out of the forest and overlooks the lake below.” 

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Lower-level plan_©olsonkundig.com/projects/dragonfly/
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Main level plan_©olsonkundig.com/projects/dragonfly/
Dragonfly House by Olson Kundig: The Crossing Point -Sheet17
Upper-level plan_©olsonkundig.com/projects/dragonfly/

This design is a great example of a building that camouflages nature. This design himself shows its concept as well as provides a soul-soothing experience to the user. They tried to make living, breathing buildings that open to the climate, harvest natural daylight, and make a connection to their surroundings. This structure is an inspiration for everyone, a house which perfectly blends with its surrounding.

The graphic shows how Dragonfly was designed to work with the natural climate.  (1) The home features a large overhanging roof to shield the house from overheating. (2 and 3) The window walls are able to rest_©olsonkundig.com/projects/dragonfly/

References:

  1. Olsonkundig. (2016). Dragonfly. https://olsonkundig.com/projects/dragonfly/
  2. BEBE HOWORTH. (2020). HOW TOM KUNDIG TURNED A MONTANA CAMPSITE INTO A STUNNING, SUSTAINABLE HOME. https://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/house-interiors/a31281627/tom-kundig-sustainable-montana-home/
Author

A budding artist, poet and dancer by passion and an architecture student by profession pursuing 3rd Year in architecture from MBS SPA, New Delhi. Highly passionate about architecture also understands the language of art, currently running an art page showcasing her own art skills and now here to improve her skills on creative writing towards architecture. Life is a journey with lots of experience and she is here to acquire another set of experience.

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