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Salt Spring Island Cabin - Olson Kundig Architects

by Nick Allen ( last modified Jan 04, 2012 03:07 AM
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by Nick Allen ( last modified Jun 16, 2010



Bachelors Retreat - Tom continues his streak of wining cabin designs, Chicken Point, Tye River and now the Salt Spring Cabin. Minimalism, with a true Masculine feel to it. Solid RSJ girders forming the framework, and a heavy duty shutter mean this vacation box is locked up tight during the week.


Set on an island north of the San Juans, the exterior metal skin of this single room cabin will be allowed to weather naturally. Inside, wood-finished surfaces create a cozy refuge. A large, weathered steel panel slides across a window wall, securing the space when the owner is away. Tom Kundig

The cabin is harking me back to the simple lines and robust functionality I love. My realm of modern architecture.

Historically, the British Columbia cabin vernacular took materials in their raw state and moved little from them - stained log cabins, with barely the bark removed and flagstone bases.

The Salt Spring Cabin is in the same vein, but it takes raw construction materials and leverage their textures and durability. Usually (don't get me wrong, I'm glad to see the current Cortens binge) we'd see paint over the RSJs or a stain or three on the ply indoors, thankfully not in this case. Bravo to the client, who no doubt sought Tom out from precedence.

A singular structure, south facing, with great thermal mass, mean that the pot belly wood fire (I think its one of these) may not get much use in summer. The left and right doors to the rear though should provide good cross ventilation in summer, as with the front window when not shuttered up.
Winning a recent Residential Architect award the Judges described that fantastic door thus:

"The panel —operated by hand like a barn door— is commodity steel pulled off a stack before fabrication. Kundig, FAIA, let the lettering stand as “an authentic mark of its history and in the spirit of allowing materials to age naturally with no ‘protective’ coating that needs maintenance."

I'm off to see what other forest retreats are out there.....


Photographer: Tim Bies




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