Architecture Tour: Leschi Inventor’s House, Seattle

The Local Project – (April 6, 2023) – Located in Seattle, Washington, Leschi Inventors House by Olson Kundig is an inventors dream house with room for the owner to live and experiment.

Video timeline: 00:00 – Introduction to the Inventors Dream House 00:23 – The Pacific North-West 00:37 – Liquid Light 00:48 – An Inventors Brief 01:36 – The Caterpillar Yellow 01:58 – A Walkthrough of the Home and the Experimental Spaces 02:25 – The View 02:56 – A Cantilevered Home 03:09 – The Mechanical Room 03:41 – Blurring the Boundaries Between Living and Experimenting 04:16 – The Materials 05:27 – Little Surprises at the Hands of the Craftsmen 06:14 – It’s About ‘How Things Work’

Following a brief that asked for a representation of the client’s characteristics, the architect has focused on supplying a home that allows the owner to create, workshop and experiment on different levels. Additionally, the architect responds to the home’s location, climate and consistent rain by employing materials that become one with the land as well as work with the wet weather Seattle is known for.

At the start of the inventor’s dream house tour, a big yellow front door has been created to greet visitors. Specifically chosen to be the exact same colour as Caterpillar’s heavy machinery, the door opens to reveal the unique interior of steel and concrete. On the front door, the owner’s experimental characteristics can be appreciated with a lock usually seen and used within a bank vault. As one continues through the inventors dream home and passes by the staircase made of industrial level steel, the welcoming of a double-height living space showcases the union between domains for experimentation and living.

As such, the use of black granite counters with an inbuilt Bunsen burner on the island table allows for the owner to do their own research within the comfort of their home with views over Lake Washington. To connect to the surrounds, giant glass panel doors have been installed across one wall of the living space – once opened, the living room becomes a deck space in which the owner can enjoy all year round. The main living quarters cantilever off a thick steel pipe, which also services the living room’s fireplace.

Upstairs, a loft has been stationed to be a think space for the inventor, while located on the ground floor is the mechanical room. Seen as the most important room within the inventors dream house, the undercroft of the home showcases an expression of all the mechanics and systems to the home, while also becoming celebration of everyone involved in the process. In the materiality palette of the inventors dream house, the architect uses weathered steel on the exterior as well as the interior – the cladded elements within the home have been waxed to allow for the steel to remain in its natural finish as it came out of the factory.

Additionally, concrete covers the floor to further allow for the owner to experiment with ease. Matched with the light and dark walls is the cabinetry, which is created from a dense particle board that has been stained and finished with a flat clear lacquer over the top. Designed to be a union between an assembly of pieces, the inventors dream house is finished and made to evolve in the wet weather so to become one with its surrounds.


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