Olson Kundig Pierre San Juan Island

Tucked into a hillside between boulders and camouflaged with stone hues and a green roof, this home on San Juan Island in Washington State almost seems to disappear into the landscape from certain angles. A wall of windows provides expansive views of the scenery, with operable glass panels providing access to an outdoor terrace.

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Olson Kundig Pierre ultramodern

Olson Kunding Architects cut out portions of the existing rock at the building site to insert the residence, fitting it in like a puzzle piece and leaving the excavation marks from drills and blasts visible on the stonework of the house.

Olson Kundig Pierre concrete house
Olson Kundig Pierre rocky room
Olson Kundig Pierre ceiling hole

The rock remains a major architectural feature of the interior, and some rooms have raw walls and ceilings, giving them a cave-like feel. The interior and exterior fireplaces are carved from the stone, and even the sink in the master bathroom consists of a series of hollowed-out basins.

Olson Kundig Pierre bathroom sink
Olson Kundig Pierre living

The home also features lots of huge operable windows that open certain areas up to the outdoors, as well as some hidden delights, like secret doors disguised as bookcases.

Olson Kundig Pierre bookcase
Olson Kundig Pierre secret door

All of this, along with the location in the Salish Sea between Washignton and British Columbia, give the home the atmosphere of a secret lair.

“The owner’s affection for a stone outcropping on her property inspired the design of this house. Conceived as a retreat nestled into the rock, the Pierre (the French word for stone) celebrates the materiality of the site. From certain angles, the house—with its rough materials, encompassing stone, green roof, and surrounding foliage—almost disappears into nature.”

Olson Kundig Pierre interior
Olson Kundig Pierre open

“To set the house deep into the site, portions of the rock outcropping were excavated through machine work and handwork. Excavated rock was re-used as crushed aggregate in the concrete flooring. Excavation marks were left exposed on all the stonework, a reminder of the building process.”

Olson Kundig Pierre view

“Throughout the house, the rock extrudes into the space, contrasting with the luxurious textures of the furnishings. Interior and exterior fireplace hearths are carved out of existing stone; leveled on top, they are otherwise left raw. The master bathroom’s sink is composed of water cascading through three polished pools in the existing stone. Both the entry sequence and a powder room are fully carved out of the rock.”