Grand Award

Category Custom home, less than 3,500 square feet
Entrant/Architect/Interior designer Olson Kundig Architects, Seattle
Builder Schuchart/Dow Construction, Seattle
Structural engineer MCE Structural Consultants, Missoula, Mont.
Civil engineer Coughlin Porter Lundeen, Seattle
Geotechnical engineer Associated Earth Sciences, Kirkland, Wash.
Photographer Dwight Eschlima

Many projects involve demolition, but The Pierre was extreme. Dynamite, hydraulic chippers, cable saws, and chisels made space for the house to be embedded deep into rock.

The outcropping that the home nestles into still has a presence inside and out. Excavation remains were crushed and mixed into the concrete flooring. Rock extrudes into fireplace areas, serving as hearth ledges. The sink in the master bathroom and the powder room are both carved out of the massive stone ledge into which this house was built.

“The rock was definitely in charge,” says architect Tom Kundig, principal at Olson Kundig, who recalls that it split in unpredictable ways during excavation, calling for last-minute changes in the floor plan.

The client wanted a house that felt sheltered amongst the rocks, meadows, and trees of the weatherbeaten San Juan Islands. Yet the demo required wasn’t for the faint of heart. Are his clients gutsier than most? “Absolutely,” says Kundig. “I’m really lucky.”

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Seattle, WA.