Olson Kundig — Hot Rod House

The owners’ original house was a turn-of-the century bungalow purchased years ago for its views and affordable price with the idea of eventually “hot rodding” it: to build a new house on top of the existing foundations and structural walls, leaving many parts of the original house intact.

Making the most of a modest budget, the design relies on a single move—the insertion of a folded steel stair—to provide circulation while becoming a free-standing 3-D sculptural element. Large, simple pivoting windows open the house to the outside. From a technical standpoint, the house serves as an ongoing research project, e.g., the window frames double as the structural moment frame for the house, and the stair is constructed without stringers.