olson sundberg kundig allen architects, seattle

Tom Kundig, FAIA, likens his six Rolling Huts to “a little Thoreau hut on Walden Pond,” but Henry David Thoreau never had it so sweet. The cabins, which hover over rusted wheels, each face a different view of the mountains and have butterfly roofs, clerestory windows, plywood walls, and cork floors. A woodburning fireplace supplies heat. The elevated “wooden tents” resulted from the creative interpretation of a zoning ordinance that allowed only RVs on this spotless slice of wilderness. One house—Delta Shelter, also by Kundig—already stood on the property, and the owner wanted not only guesthouses for friends but units he could rent out to cross-country skiers. Local codes prohibited additional buildings, but previous owners had established a permit allowing 14 parked RVs. Hence the steel wheels, which can roll but are intended to be more sculptural than practical. “As soon as we put the huts on wheels, we discovered that in code they were mobile homes, so we didn't need a building permit,” Kundig says, adding, “They've since changed the codes.”

The jury applauded the inventive, low-tech solution. “The idea of a house on wheels is great,” said one judge. “It's lovely and minimally invasive.”

principal in charge / project architect: Tom Kundig, FAIA, Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects;
project manager: Jerry Garcia, Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects;
general contractor: Tim Tanner, Seattle;
structural engineer: Monte Clark, MCE Structural Consultants, Stevensville, Mont.;
project size: 200 square feet per unit;
site size: 40 acres;
construction cost: Withheld;
photography: Tim Bies

product specs
roofing: Recla Metals; windows: Milgard Windows