Architectural Inspiration: Sol Duc Cabin by Olson Kundig

A 350 sq. ft. retreat on Washington's remote Olympic Peninsula designed to weather the worst of storms

Let’s get one thing straight—Olson Kundig is killing it. The Seattle-based design practice was founded on the idea that buildings should inspire and can serve as a positive bridge between nature, culture, and people, and because of this have produced some of the more memorable cabins, homes, and public works in the PNW and beyond in recent years. The Sol Duc Cabin has been a favorite of ours for some time, and with the seasons in transition we found it fitting to introduce the stoic structure, defined by a transitional design of its own.

The 350-square-feet “cabin” was largely prefabricated off-site before being set deep in the temperate rainforest of Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula, perched overlooking the Sol Duc River (known for having some of the best steelhead fishing in the state) on study I-beam stilts. As the region is known for its relentless weather—with measurable raining falling upwards of 300 days a year—and occasional flooding, the cabin is defined by it’s fortress-like shutter system. Most notably, the massive sliding corten steel door front. A Custom steel rig and rod system allows the shutters to be manually operated, accentuating self reliance.

Close up the front and side window shutters and the formidable structure will be capable of weathering any and all storms thrown its way. Open them up and natural light will fill the remote second home. And while the exterior is imposing with unfinished steel cladding throughout, the interior is filled with warm woods and plenty of headspace.

all images courtesy Olson Kundig

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