Delta Shelter / Olson Kundig Architects

© Olson Kundig Architects & Tim Bies

Architects: Olson Kundig Architects
Location: , Washington,
Project Team: Tom Kundig, FAIA – design principal; Ellen Cecil – project manager; Debbie Kennedy – interior designer
Contractor: Tim Tanner
Consultants: Monte Clark Engineering – structural engineering; Turner Exhibits – shutter engineer and fabricator
Size: 1,000 sqm
Photographs: Olson Kundig Architects / Tim Bies, Benjamin Benschneider

© Benjamin Benschneider

Delta Shelter – a 1,000 square-foot cabin – is essentially a steel-clad box on stilts that can be completely shuttered when the owner is away. The 200 square-foot footprint of the house rises above a 40-acre, 100-year flood plain adjacent to the Methow River. The verticality, coloring and raw nature of the materials used for construction directly respond to the wildness of the setting. The owner sought a compact, easy to maintain, virtually indestructible building to house himself and his friends for fun and adventure in the mountains. With an exterior of steel, the house is virtually indestructible.

© Benjamin Benschneider

The cabin is composed of three levels: the lowest level is half carport, half utility/storage room; the middle level consists of the entry, two small bedrooms and bathrooms; the top level is one large space which includes living, dining and cooking areas. Cantilevered steel decks extend from the top and middle levels and provide space for outdoor sleeping and entertaining.

© Benjamin Benschneider

The cabin is supported by four steel columns. Floors are 3” x 6” tongue-and-groove wood car-decking, and exterior wood infill walls are clad in 16-gauge, hot-rolled steel sheets with exposed steel fasteners. Most of the structure, including the steel structure, roof panels, shutters, and stairs, was prefabricated off-site, thereby reducing on-site waste and site disruption.

© Benjamin Benschneider

Due to prefabrication and the use of plywood for all interior surfaces, typical construction wastage was kept to a minimum. Aside from building as small a structure as possible and limiting the impact on the landscape, Delta Shelter’s most unique sustainable strategy was to be able to open the structure to the environment and to use human power as the means to do it.

axiometric

All four shutters, which measure 10’ x 18’, can be opened and closed simultaneously by using a hand wheel that moves the shutters over the glazed portions of each façade. The shutters are operated by a series of mechanical devices including a hand wheel, drive shafts, u-joints, spur gears and cables. All windows are operable. No air conditioning is included in the project.

Cite: "Delta Shelter / Olson Kundig Architects" 12 Mar 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 19 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=215448>

11 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down +2

    This was a great project when it was built years ago- why is it being featured all these years later?

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    The snow picture is beautiful to look at. I bet the house is miserable to be in when its 32F (0C). Where is the RTU, boys?

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I was just thinking to myself I haven’t seen the delta shelter in any blogs this month …

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I’ve been in the house when it was about 23F (-5C) and there was nothing miserable about it.

    Got to agree with the others though, Archdaily getting desperate?

  5. Thumb up Thumb down +2

    I’ve seen this house dozen’s of times, but seeing it again today- it never gets old. Seems to me that is a good ingredient for a successful project.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    Regardless of how many times you see Olsen Kundigs work it is always refreshing to see clever engineering used to enhance the interaction between user and architecture, rather than to showcase architectural gymnastics like excessive cantelevers and superfluous geometry.

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    What a fun structure! One thing I don’t understand, though… how can you get 1000 sq. ft. of living space in 2 (or even 3) stories with a 200 sq. ft. footprint? Then, in the specs at the end it says the size is 1000 sq. meters. Am I missing something?

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