Rimrock. The word’s etymology sounds western USA and, actually, it is. This is the name of the 5,200-square-foot private residence in Spokane, Washington - its design was led by architect, Tom Kundig, of the internationally acclaimed Seattle-based firm Olson Kundig Architects - that sits on the edge of a cliff which forms a natural boundary with the plateau fronting it, and perfectly describes this very comfortable, livable work of art.
Even more, the T-shaped domicile is not an intrusion upon the ponderosa-pine covered land as the eons-old, animal trail over which the house is located was included as a crucial design element. The living area is built over the wash ensuring that forest animals - making their way from the high forest plateau to the Spokane River 300 feet below - are not in any way impeded while the occupants of the house are given a one-of-a-kind view of this ancient, animal-kingdom rite.
Meanwhile, the home's modern, mainly steel and glass design is based on its occupants’ daily "migration" patterns. The living area - kitchen, living room, dining room - is on the lower level, with 180 degrees views which include the reflecting pool, valley, river, city of Spokane, pine-covered plateau, volcanic basalt rock wall, and any animals that might come visiting. It is a comfortable inside view on the outside world that takes into consideration the fierce winter storms and the resulting high snowdrifts this region is known for. Straddling the wash ensures that the floor-to-ceiling windows of the living area are never covered.
The wide, untreated steel, many windowed staircase leads to the family's private retreat of bedrooms and a personal living space which are more enclosed from the elements, with fewer windows, allowing its occupants respite when the weather turns inclement.
The whole space is very sculptural, a feat which is fitting since its owners are big art collectors, especially of the work of local art legend, Harold Balazs. "It was an honor to visit the house with Harold and see him so pleased with the outcome,” Kundig said. Fittingly, a work by Balazs is located at the entrance of the house which fits in perfectly with both the environment and the durable materials used in the construction of this one-of-a-kind home.