2012 Recipient | AIA Housing Awards
The Pierre | Notes of Interest
Conceived as a bunker nestled into the rock, the Pierre—French for stone—celebrates the materiality of the site and the owner’s affection for a stone outcropping on her property. With its rough materiality, which encompasses stone, green roof, and surrounding foliage, the house disappears into nature from certain angles.
To embed 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. Excavated rock was re-used as crushed aggregate in the concrete flooring. Excavation marks were left exposed on all the stonework, a reminder of the building process.
Upstream, the guesthouse and office/exercise structures inhabit the narrow valley meadow with its forested edges. Mirroring the path of the nearby stream, these utility and activity spaces are clipped to and detached from the main house. They share simple massing and wood siding, discreetly revealing the composition of the roof structure. Downstream, the main building’s large living space opens to a full view of the deep lake, broad sky, and weather. With their longer spans, the primary spaces are framed robustly in wood and steel. The southern glass wall extends toward the waterfall at one end while focusing on the lake at the other. A linear steel beam projecting through both east and west elevations marks circulation. The beam is the fulcrum of the south edge that inflects upward to catch the sun above the ravine’s rim.
Throughout the house, rock extrudes into the space, contrasting with luxurious interior textures and furnishings. Interior and exterior hearths are carved out of existing stone and left raw—much like the master bathroom sink and the powder room, which are fully carved out of the rock.
- Engineer: Coughlin Porter Lundeen; MCE Structural Consultants; Associated Earth Sciences
- General Contractor: Schuchart/Dow
- © Benjamin Benschneider
- Architect: Olson Kundig Architects
- Location: San Juan Islands, Washington
Category One: One and Two Family Custom Residences
This is a powerful home. Beautifully framed views. Love that it is wrapped around a courtyard. Love the combination of man with nature.
2012 AIA Housing Awards Jury
- Sandra A. LaFontaine, AIA, Chair
- LaFontaine Architecture and Design
- Worthington, Ohio
- Allison Arieff
- New York Times
- San Francisco
- Sara E. Caples, AIA
- Caples Jefferson Architects
- New York City
- Jerome King, FAIA
- The Office of Jerome King
- San Jose, Calif.
- Bill Moore, AIA
- Sprocket Design Build, Inc.