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Friday, January 27, 2012

Kundig Mechanics

On Wednesday architect Tom Kundig -- of Seattle-based Olson Kundig Architects -- spoke at the New York Public Library, conversing with Town & Country editor Mark Rozzo about Tom Kundig: Houses 2, published by Princeton Architectural Press.

In the lecture portion of the evening Kundig spoke about his inspirations, ranging from his architect-father to the landscape of eastern Washington state where he grew up and even hot rodding. In line with the DIY mechanics of the latter is Jean Tinguely's fountain in Basel, what Kundig described as straddling the "thin line between highbrow and lowbrow art." See for yourself:

The aspect of Kundig's architecture that these kinetic sculptures influence is obviously the moving walls and other elements found especially in his residences. One case in point is the Chicken Point Cabin in northern Idaho, found in the first monograph on his houses:

The project features a huge 7-ton window wall that is raised and lowered by a mechanism that even a child can operate:

Kundig acknowledge the important contribution of Phil Turner, whom he met while designing Chicken Point Cabin and whom developed the below gizmo -- a flyball governor, which safely regulates and maintains the speed of the gears when in motion (Phil now works in the office). It's like a house meets a hot rod*:

*Kundig designed a later house in Seattle that actually goes by the name Hot Rod House.

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