Rolling Huts by Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects


Rolling Huts are minimally appointed mountain cabins mounted on wheels, designed by Seattle architects Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen.

Located at Mazama in Washington State, the six huts serve as guest accommodation for friends of architect Tom Kundig, who has his Delta Shelter weekend retreat in the valley nearby.

The cabins have wheels to get round local planning laws forbidding permanent structures.

Rolling Huts was one of three projects by ASKA Architects to win at the AIA Seattle Awards a couple of weeks ago.

The following text comes from ASKA's press release about the award:


The Rolling Huts – Award of Merit

Responding to the owner’s need for a space to house visiting friends and family, the Rolling Huts aim to be several steps above camping, while remaining simple in their design. Set in a meadow and facing the mountains, each single-room hut is placed so that an inhabitant’s gaze is drawn out of the room and towards nature. Informed by the local planning department that cabins would not be approved for the site, the architect hit upon the idea of placing the structures on wheels – effectively making them RVs.

Tom Kundig was the lead architect for the Rolling Huts. Jerry Garcia was the project manager, and Kenny Wilson was a staff architect.

The Jury wrote of the Rolling Huts: “Wit, a playful approach to type, and a willingness to question local idiomatic practice set this project apart. While many regional projects respond to the natural environment with comfort and elegance, these cabins are raw, edgy, unafraid of the challenging aspects of nature. At the same time, the user cannot escape the fact that the buildings impose on the landscape, with their steel wheels and tentative siting. These simple structures engage the spiritual question of our place in the landscape.”

The huts form a companion piece to the client’s personal retreat – Delta Shelter, designed by Tom Kundig and itself a winner of three AIA Awards (the 2007 National Housing Committee Award, the 2007 Pacific Northwest Pacific Regional Design Honor Award, and a 2006 Seattle Merit Award). It was an Architectural Record Record House in 2006, and a Residential Architect Grand Award 2006.

Posted on Monday November 19th 2007 at 12:06 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • There’s something inherently elegant about this. I just can’t define it. Maybe it has something to do with wheels which would be next to impossible to lift if not attached to the huts—the idea of shelter being portable but not motorized… but only portable to a degree—not in a practical way. I also can’t ignore the beauty of side-stepping local laws.

  • Lee

    What is the beauty of sidestepping laws, especially good ones.

  • neil

    look at the huts – what is good about them? – they are ugly boxes on wheels – how do they improve the human condition – unique does not equal good – this is a triumph of money over good design not zoning

  • Lee… the mention of ‘beauty of side-stepping laws’ was a veiled attempt at tongue-in-cheek-humor. Of course, it’s a good law and I support it.

  • John Hayes

    The information in this dez een publication concerning “The cabins have wheels to get round local planning laws forbidding permanent structures.” could not be further from the truth. The site for the huts is a licensed campground. The campground has sixteen licensed RV sites. The owner chose not to deal with RV’s and their need for a sewage dump site. There was a desire to retain the existing zoning designation and to minimize the visual effect on the landscape. Given the contrast between a brightly painted RV and the rusted hut structure, the owner chose the latter.

  • Good info, John. Thanks.

  • gilligrass

    These structures combine the esoteric with an ethereal sense of man’s continuing effort to inhabit a natural landscape with minimal ecological impact while making a bold architectural and design statement. kudos to John hayes and the Technical assistance group. otherwise there would have been numerous unsightly RVS bespeaking a gas guzzling take it with me philosophy not to mention avoiding an on sidte septic pump station with its accompanying stench.

  • jeffrey gordon

    I know some of the principals a bit in this project. They understand the local rules, even contributed to them in a signficant way, this unique valley is much better off for their presence there. 6 one of a kind architecturally unique rolling huts vs 16 bigger and better RV’s trailers–no contest.

    shaking the tree while meeting the letter and most of the spirit of local zoning is okay with me, especially when the local environment wins and a few of the set in stones observers miss the forest for the trees.


  • jon

    I like the structures, like the idea behind them, and even like the creative approach to zoning regs, but I want to know what those wheels are made of.

  • I like the idea,,what about bath rooms ,cooking features and heating and are they constructed of wood or metal
    thank you
    mike mudd

  • bill

    So, people in rolling huts don’t create sewage? That’s amazing.

  • mike

    how did you build, do you deliver?

  • Andrew

    What about shock absorbtion during transportation. Is the structure reduced to its minimum when moved?

  • claystephens

    I like this and the design is interesting but I don't think I would want to stay in a house on wheels–feels strange.