Interview with Tom Kundig : design elements


Interview with Tom Kundig

categories Architecture, Designer, Interviews    

For me, the site is sacred. I like to spend time walking the site and getting to know it. The goal for the architecture is to help reveal and unfold the site, to frame the site and its aspect…I find inspiration in a lot of things but am particularly influenced by nature and how people to respond to it. I think small structures in big landscapes remind us of our place in the natural order of things…that we are part of a larger system. Small buildings encourage their users to engage with the world at large.

Tom Kundig for Architects + Artisans

Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architecs is one of the most recognized architects in the world. His houses have left an indelible mark on the residential design becoming modern-day classics. Tom Kundig has been awarded a total of thirty-seven AIA awards, and over seventy awards total. He loves mountaineering, rock climbing and sees his work as frame for nature. Enjoy the beautiful frames below and the interview…I sure did.

What was the moment when you knew you would be an architect?

I was raised in a culture of architecture and art. My father was an architect and a close family friend was artist Harold Balazs. As a kid, I worked for Harold in his studio and his approach to work, art and life continues to inspire me today. I didn’t originally want to be an architect. In college, I studied earth sciences and geophysics; I was also interested in art. It was during college that I realized that architecture was the perfect union of science and art…what Glenn Murcutt describes as the intersection of the rational and the poetic.

Is there something that connects all your projects?

I am a firm believer that everything you do…your life experiences…informs what you will do, and so forth.

Looking back at your first project what design knowledge do you wish you had back then?

When you start out as an architect, you don’t know what you don’t know.

What have been the rewards of practicing architecture?

Getting the chance to meet interesting people and work on interesting projects and sites. It helps, too, to have talented teams of people to work with and we are fortunate to have that. Ultimately, the success of our work is determined by those we design for, and whether what we do now holds up over time…that’s true sustainability.

How do you think the role of the architect will change over the next years?

No doubt it will change. I think the role of the architect will become more connected to the craft of building.

To date, you have been awarded a total of thirty-seven AIA awards, and over seventy awards total. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Having clients tell me years after a project was completed that they continue to enjoy their house, and that it is a source of continual discovery, is a huge thrill.

Your favorite books?

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert M. Pirsig

In Praise of Shadows, by Jun’ichiro Tanizaki

The Wisdom of Insecurity, by Alan Watts

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey

A River Runs Through It, by Norman MacLean

What’s your advice to upcoming architects?

Have patience. The practice of architecture is complicated…there is so much to learn.

My signature question – what are the most important design elements?

Aside from the client’s program, the site is super important…the first time I walk a site is the most important…those first impressions inform everything that comes after. I think it is important to make the interaction with architecture meaningful…that can be achieved through the use of materials, by shifts in scale or function, and through the experience of space.


20 Kommentare zu “Interview with Tom Kundig”

  1. Priscilla Joy am 17.01.2012 um 17:53 Uhr 

    Wow. That is all that I can think of; WOW.

    :) enjoy your day Maria

  2. Kelly @ JAX does design am 17.01.2012 um 18:00 Uhr 

    Great interview and absolutely stunning homes. I love how they all blend in so well with their environments, especially the first home with the green roof.

  3. kat+muse am 17.01.2012 um 20:29 Uhr 

    as much as i love the architecture and the interview–i absolutely one the surroundings! and the moss on the rock in that last image is a textural delight! happy new week maria…sending you a virtual hug right back! xx

  4. Marianne am 17.01.2012 um 21:30 Uhr 

    Laß mal einen lieben Gruß hier ;-)

  5. smalldot am 18.01.2012 um 00:18 Uhr 

    I like the interview, nice nice

  6. La Boheme am 18.01.2012 um 04:18 Uhr 

    “Architecture as the intersection of the rational and the poetic”….Wow, Maria, you just keep raising the bar with your interviews! Tom Kundig himself, you go girl! Love visiting you everyday and seeing what is your beautiful mind up to. big hugs to you

  7. Aline Horta am 18.01.2012 um 05:25 Uhr 

    Que lugar maravilhoso!!!!!


  8. classiq am 18.01.2012 um 09:41 Uhr 

    It was a real pleasure reading the interview, Maria. I liked what he said about “small structures in big landscapes remind us of our place in the natural order of things”. It makes perfect sense. The house on the cliff is incredible!

  9. Meta Musings am 18.01.2012 um 09:49 Uhr 

    Wow! He has an amazing portfolio! Great interview, as always :)


  10. mary jo am 18.01.2012 um 11:02 Uhr 

    I always enjoy your interviews Maria, but I really feel like this interview with Tom Kundig is one of your best!

    xo Mary Jo

  11. Elin am 18.01.2012 um 11:09 Uhr 

    Hi, and thanks for the lovely greetings on my pictures of the tulips yesterday:-)
    In the post I just said that I am sick with the flue and hoping the view of wonderful flowers helps. And it does:-)
    Best greetings from Elin – who thinks your blog is great!

  12. cabbagerose am 18.01.2012 um 14:58 Uhr 

    oh my! I’ll repeat…oh my! Such an enjoyable interview. I am such a big fan of tk. Love his movie choices…and his advice about patience. very likeable guy. kudos, maria

  13. Carmen - Achados de Decoração am 18.01.2012 um 15:04 Uhr 

    Maria! hast du meine Antwort bekommen? Est ist hier. Guck mal!

    “Maria! Ich möchte gern ein bisschen mehr von Euch (meine Leser) wissen. Deshalb habe ich gedacht, ein Teil euren Häuser in Achados de Decoração veröffentlichen. Was denkst du? Man soll eins oder viele Photo(s) mir schicken. Nimm das Raum das Du am liebsten mag, ok? Was liebst Du zu Haus am besten? Zum Beispeil: Liebst du dein Schlafzimmer am besten? Vielleicht liebst du dein Esszimmer, u.s.w ok? ;o)”

  14. Alexa am 18.01.2012 um 21:50 Uhr 

    Love his use of nature and light.

  15. Kristin am 18.01.2012 um 22:39 Uhr 

    I LOVE his style!!!


  16. Shelly Gregory am 19.01.2012 um 17:52 Uhr 

    Tom Kundig seems to have the utmost respect for his talent and where he leaves his mark. He’s very conscientious! A quality that I admire.

  17. Captivated by image am 19.01.2012 um 20:58 Uhr 

    Amazing architecture!! Love his strong affection for the site as a start for his designs. Great interview :) A little Labrador you said, is it still a puppy?

  18. Tereza am 20.01.2012 um 02:27 Uhr 

    Maria, your interviews are fantastic and Kundig is one of my favorites, love his works, really fabulous.
    Warm hugs to you my friend!

  19. homestilo am 21.01.2012 um 17:46 Uhr 

    He has such a great background- and it truly is reflected in his work.

  20. Rowaida Flayhan am 21.01.2012 um 23:38 Uhr 

    Wow Love his work

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