Pole Pass Retreat by Olson Kundig

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San Juan Islands, Washington, U.S.A.

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The house blends into its surroundings through its horizontal proportions. The slightly charred cedar siding is done with a technique called shou-sugi-ban, a traditional Japanese method. It naturally preserves the wood, making the cedar less of a target for insects, rot, and fire. It gives it a very dark, slightly silvery color that changes over time. The space as flexible as possible to allow for numerous potential uses in all four seasons. In the warmer months, you can completely open up the pavilion window walls (using a walk-along hand wheel, meaning, you walk as you turn it) to accommodate a big crowd and to dissolve the line between building and site to create an expansive indoor/outdoor living space with spectacular views.