Tom Kundig, FAIA, often refers to his architectural method as “hot rodding.” Inspired by the sculptor/mechanics who make rolling art from mass-produced automotive iron, Kundig takes a cutting torch to our accustomed concepts of dwelling. Manipulating and combining familiar cultural and physical material, he makes buildings that do unfamiliar, wonderful things.
Kundig’s second monograph, Tom Kundig: Houses 2 (Princeton Architectural Press, $55), presents 17 residential projects completed from 2005 to 2010—the most powerful of which engage large, dramatic landscapes. The Pierre (2010) inserts itself bodily into a rock outcropping on the shore of Lopez Island, Wash., and Slaughterhouse Beach House (2009) spreads along a cliff-top site in Lahaina, Hawaii, with window walls that swing up to turn the central living area into an open-air pavilion. Operable building elements are a long-standing theme in Kundig’s work, and this collection is replete with walls, roofs, and entire buildings that hinge, pivot, or roll in ingenious ways. To control the movements, Kundig devises custom “gizmos” that reflect the machine aesthetic of mechanical watches, bank vaults, and—in the case of Rolling Huts (2007)—medieval siege engines.
That all this is great fun in no way diminishes the fact that these are also great houses. Scheduled for release in September, this volume joins Tom Kundig: Houses (2008) as testament to an architectural original at the height of his formidable powers.