Rolling Huts / OSKA Architects

Chad Kirkpatrick

Architects: Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects
Location: Mazama, Washington,
Lead Architect: Tom Kundig, FAIA
Date of Completion: 2008
Size: 440 sf/per hut (200 sf interior space, 240 sf exterior deck)
Photographs: Chad Kirkpatrick & /Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects

Tim Bies Chad Kirkpatrick Tim Bies Tim Bies

Responding to the owner’s need for space to house visiting friends and family, the Rolling Huts are several steps above camping, while remaining low-tech and low-impact in their design. The huts sit lightly on the site, a flood plain meadow in an alpine river valley. The owner purchased the site, formerly a RV campground, with the aim of allowing the landscape return to its natural state. The wheels lift the structures above the meadow, providing an unobstructed view into nature and the prospect of the surrounding mountains.

Tim Bies

Tim Bies

The construction of each hut is simple. It is, in essence, an offset, steel clad box on a steel and platform. Living occurs not only in the 200 sq ft inside the box, but on the 240 sq ft of covered deck space surrounding it. Interior finishes – cork and plywood – are simple, inexpensive, and left as raw as possible. Exteriors are durable, no-maintenance materials – steel, plywood and car-decking. The huts are grouped as a herd: while each is sited towards a view of the mountains (and away from the other structures), their proximity unites them. They evoke Thoreau’s simple cabin in the woods; the structures take second place to nature.

Cite: "Rolling Huts / OSKA Architects" 16 Jun 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 Jul 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=24959>

18 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    so, the box in the back is the toilet? like a port-o john?
    and good to know who took what photographs?…Chad good shots, Tim you may need to step it up a notch or three. how hard is it by the way to take photos of this kind of work in this kind of landscape? hard to mess up i would think. speaking of landscape the new trees off to the side…are they a bit close together?

    anyway,
    nice, gutter… is the roof sip ? and i like how the structure holding the roof is shifted from the walls of the cabin, subtle and nice ;) cheers.

    • Thumb up Thumb down -1

      Not sure what your issue is with the photos – they seem to show the project quite nicely.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    This is a project that I have long admired for its quirkiness and commentary on the origins of the site. It does seem like a fun proposition to camp in one of these structures. That said, an Airstream trailer would have cost less and been more functional while achieving the same reference to the original RV park.

    The reference to Henry David Thoreau is a real stretch. I rather suspect he would have been absolutely appalled at the idea of pretentiously “roughing it” in a glorified trailer as a guest on some wealthy guy’s rural retreat. Perhaps a rereading of “Walden” is in order in the OSKA offices? It is a fun read over a nice long latte at the local Starbucks. If there isn’t time for that then perhaps Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best in his Nobel acceptance speech “Our problem today is that we have allowed the internal to become lost in the external … So much of modern life can be summarized in that arresting dictum of the poet Thoreau: ‘Improved means to an unimproved end’.”

    This architecture fits better into the tradition of folly. In fact, these are little “huts” are highly planned acts of participation in natur,e which is usually the point of an architectural folly. Within that scope they are great; for any purpose more morally ambitious they could start to look pretty callow and out of touch.

    Terry Glenn Phipps

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Interesting concept but some details are quite awkward to say the least. Like that H-beam poking thru the notched out pane of glass… Uuuu…!

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    the wheels are more important than just a reference to the previous RV campground. at a lecture Tom Kundig explained that the local building authority would not allow any additional building on the owner’s property. however, since this area was zoned as an RV campground, a number of structure could be built as long as there were no foundations, hence the wheels. it makes the solution much more interesting.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    i especially enjoy the materials that are employed in this project. there are some awkward moments as ‘majchers’ pointed out, even worse is the Thoreau reference. i can only hope that aspect was not a driving force in the design, or maybe “Walden” got lost on its journey to the west coast.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    @ Terry Glenn Phipps – Your point is well-taken. However, when I saw the mock-up of Thoreau’s cabin on Walden Pond, I thought a sign stated the cabin was only about a mile down the path from where his parents lived. I always imagined him running his laundry down there on weekends. At any rate, I don’t think he was quite as self-contained as he might like to have you believe….

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I understand this question probably seems a bit off (& maybe it already says it somewhere that I have missed) but are these huts only for the owners own friends & family or does the owner provide for other people looking for a getaway to stay in them at a certain price? I’m just so intrigued by them & love the idea, especially since I live in Washington!

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Primitive, or not?
    Although Terry has a valid point (as usual…) I am personally fascinated by the conscious effort to express a primitive hut on wheels, while offering a fantastic and elegantly detailed home. I love the way the glass fades away and never interrupts the structure (See Majchers about the cut away in the glass), one could argue that it is dishonest but I really love it.
    And the “flintstone” type wheels, sum up the whole project very poetically, so keep it rolling! [sorry!]

  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    yo rye your in luck they rent these mo fo’s for $80 bucks a night. google rolling huts they are over in mazama or something, on the same property as the delta shelter that OSKA also designed

  10. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Would like to know more about the product and the cost to have one!
    Thank You,
    Kirk

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