On the occasion that I find myself in need of inspiration, of a fresh perspective, I turn to the architecture of Seattle-based firm Olson Kundig. Though the office has won awards for 15-story office buildings in South Korea and built museums around the world, it’s their modest, industrial cabins that pepper the Pacific Northwest that I keep coming back to—check out Tom Kundig’s freestanding Olympic Peninsula tree fort cabin for a crash course in the celebrated designer’s unique aesthetic.
Kundig’s Gulf Islands Cabin is a new favorite. The single-room cabin packs a lot of ambition and style into just 191 square feet.
Located on a prehistoric feeling island in the strait between Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia, the structure fits nicely into the weather beaten environment, exclusively utilizing natural materials like concrete, steel, and cedar harvest from deadfall on the property.
The inside houses little more than one could truly need at the core—a bed, wood burning stove, kitchenette, and toilet. Highly-Insulated glass helps keep the weather out and heat in during the long, damp rainy season.
A massive weathered steel panel, which will weather and turn the same color as the surrounding rocks and foliage in time, serves as a focal point for the micro cabin. But it’s far from just visual. Hung on barn hinges, the steel sheet can be slid by hand across the glass facade to limit sunlight on the interior, act as a visual shield for the open-air shower, and ultimately, lock up when the owners are elsewhere.
All things considered, 191 square feet on a secluded island sounds pretty dang nice right about now.