False Bay Residence by Olson Kundig

Designed in 2019 by Olson Kundig, this single family residence is located in San Juan County, Washington.


This single-family home is situated to maximize sweeping views of Haro Strait and the Olympic Mountains. A 15-foot-tall opaque entry door pivots open to reveal a view of the Sound through a double-height glazed living and dining space. The owners envisioned a home for both entertaining friends and relaxing as a family. The compact plan groups spaces for efficiency and minimizes unnecessary circulation.

“There were existing agricultural buildings on site, so we thought the house could take its cue directly from those vernacular structures—steeply pitched roof, open interior, loft space and overall height.” –Kirsten R. Murray, FAIA, Design Principal

Light and solar heat gain can be adjusted with four, 20-foot-tall exterior sliding wood shutters that extend across the entire west facade. Deep roof overhangs also provide shade and cover from direct sunlight and storms, while the hopper window above the entry door helps to naturally ventilate the house.

The spirit of efficiency extends to the limited material palette—wood, concrete, steel—simple, relatively low maintenance materials that, paired with energy-efficient glass and ready access to light-filled spaces, reduce the impact on the environment.

Project Team: Kirsten R. Murray, FAIA, Design Principal; Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA, Design Mentor; Todd Matthes, Project Architect; Michelle Hamilton, LEED® AP, and Derek Santo, LEED® AP BD+C, Architectural Staff

Key Consultants: Lowe Construction, General Contractor; MCE Structural Consultants, Structural Engineer; Island Gardens Company, Landscape Architect; Lighting Designs, Inc., Lighting Design; Geremia Design, Interior Design; GEM Welding & Fabrication, Fabricator

Photography by Aaron Leitz, Benjamin Benschneider

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- by Matt Watts

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