The Rimrock House Stands Between A Mountain And A River

Some of the most impressive and memorable projects are those that manage to find the right balance between natural and artificial, between what’s man-made and what we take for granted from Mother Nature. One such project is the Rimrock residence designed by the architects at Olson Kundig. It’s an amazing house that was built in 2014 on a bluff surrounded by the forest in Spokane, US. The design and the structure of the building respond to the topography of the land. The site is in the close proximity of a river, right in the path followed by the animals when they descent from the mountain towards the river.

The T shape was mainly dictated by the environment, the available space and the desire to preserve the landView in gallery
The T shape was mainly dictated by the environment, the available space and the desire to preserve the land
The house sits on a bluff and gets to enjoy amazing views of the valley that unfolds right in front of itView in gallery
The house sits on a bluff and gets to enjoy amazing views of the valley that unfolds right in front of it
The weathering steel exterior ages beautifully with time and gives the house a lot of characterView in gallery
The weathering steel exterior ages beautifully with time and gives the house a lot of character
There's a striking contrast between the transparent ground floor and the closed off upper level which is partially cantileveredView in gallery
There’s a striking contrast between the transparent ground floor and the closed off upper level which is partially cantilevered

The house stays clear of this path and features a T-shaped structure which is partially raised and cantilevered, forming a bridge and offering some amazing views over Riverside State Park, the valley, the mountain, the forest, the river and the city in the distance. These views can best be enjoyed from the ground floor which, unusually, is the transparent one while the upper level is closed and more private. The materials used are chosen with regards to the harsh environmental conditions. The exterior is clad in steel which weather naturally allowing the house to become rooted to the land in a great way.

Full-height windows form the glazed facade of the lower level which let in panoramic views of the surroundingsView in gallery
Full-height windows form the glazed facade of the lower level which let in panoramic views of the surroundings
There's a close and very special relationship between the house and its immediate surroundingsView in gallery
There’s a close and very special relationship between the house and its immediate surroundings
All the windows have automatic exterior shades which offer increased privacy and protection against powerful stormsView in gallery
All the windows have automatic exterior shades which offer increased privacy and protection against powerful storms
The distribution of the functions inside the house is very clear and organized in a practical mannerView in gallery
The distribution of the functions inside the house is very clear and organized in a practical manner
The ground floor houses the social, communal areas such as the kitchen, the dining room and the living areaView in gallery
The ground floor houses the social, communal areas such as the kitchen, the dining room and the living area
Floor-to-ceiling windows allow 180 degree views over the forest, the mountain and the city to be enjoyed from the living roomView in gallery
Floor-to-ceiling windows allow 180 degree views over the forest, the mountain and the city to be enjoyed from the living room
The lower level is very open and transparent compared to the closed and intimate upper floor which contains the sleeping areasView in gallery
The lower level is very open and transparent compared to the closed and intimate upper floor which contains the sleeping areas
The kitchen is part of the open floor plan but manages to maintain an autonomous nature through an L-shaped counterView in gallery
The kitchen is part of the open floor plan but manages to maintain an autonomous nature through an L-shaped counter
The kitchen is actually not as open as expected, not just because of the counter but also because of the overall layoutView in gallery
The kitchen is actually not as open as expected, not just because of the counter but also because of the overall layout