Think of the wild West in America and one immediately gets the vision of wide open space and a sense of splendid isolation which evokes the spirit of pioneering adventurism. The Studhorse house in Winthrop, Washington state, is a jewel of a house in exactly such a location and it certainly makes a bold gesture.
The house is located in a vast 20 acre site in the remote Methow valley. In response to the isolated nature of the site, architect Tom Kundig took inspiration from circling wagons and based the design of the house on 4 standalone structures surrounding a courtyard. The form of the structures differ according to the different functions they accommodate (from a central living area to a hut housing a sauna with views to die for), but they are all united by their strong sculptural shapes, use of robust materials (steel, glass and reclaimed timber) and a sense of openness. This is a house which is simultaneously at ease with its surroundings and yet presents a gesture of defiance against the harsh landscape.
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