Gallery: ‘Move the Hut’ Lawsuit Filed Against Architect Tom Kundig for ...


We never would have expected Tom Kundig to be embroiled in legal battle with a community of conservationists, but the characteristically eco-minded architect was slapped with a lawsuit a few weeks ago by residents of Methow Valley, WA. As it turns out, one of Kundig’s newest constructions, dubbed the Flagg Mountain Hut (which he also co-owns), protrudes into the viewshed of a pristine ridge in the valley. Though the new home will feature many of the eco-friendly and site-sensitive elements we’ve seen in Kundig’s other designs, the community is not happy with the project and they’ve launched a campaign asking the owners to Move the Hut off the ridgeline and out of sight to preserve the beauty and character of the valley.

What do you think - should the hut be moved?

  • 324 Votes Yes, all efforts should be made to preserve the natural views of the area and to respect the wishes of the community.
  • 276 Votes No, the construction is site sensitive and the architect and owners have a right to build where they choose on their property.
  • 9 Votes I'm not sure.

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Tom Kundig’s Flagg Mountain Hut is a rectangular prefab with a metal roof that extends out over the cliff. Other than a wireless antenna, it is the only man-made structure visible above the valley floor of Mazama. Though the hut is being built on private property, the previous owners of the site imposed certain restrictions and covenants that new owners are required to follow – specifically, that they are to minimize the visual impact of any structures for the Mazama community as a whole.

As the covenant states: “All improvements placed on the property shall be constructed with restraint and special sensitivity and consideration in order to minimize the visual impact of any such improvements on adjoining parcels and on all other lands, including lands located on the floor of the Methow Valley and all other lands which have a direct line of sight to the property.”

The community claims that Kundig and the other owners have broken these covenants as well as the Methow Conservancy’s Good Neighbor Handbook, which asks that the owners of any site in the area take measures to ensure that ridgeline houses “do not permanently mar the scenic beauty that many treasure in the Methow Valley”.

Because the hut is a prefab construction, the community hopes that courts will agree that it can be easily removed and replanted elsewhere on the property. As it stands, the hut is licensed for use only 60 days per year under a building code exemption that allows hunting cabins and similar structures to be built without water or septic systems. However, the owners are allowed to file an application that would allow for use 365 days per year, which would require them to have normal installations such as water lines and lighting — things residents fear will cause an even greater intrusion.

+ Move the Hut

+ Olson Kundig Architects


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  1. Alfredo Guillen October 23, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    I would like to see a foto in the other direction. You know, facing the houses of those people that complained that the view form their side is ruined. Les see how much their houses enhance the other side of the mountain before passing judgement

  2. Nits Alexandru Tiberiu July 19, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    I think that the problem is not constructing on the ridgeline, the real problem is poor architecture. I agree with Cain Gatell. I do not agree with Tim Davies, the act of building is an act of culture. The landscapes are common goods, nobody is supposed to destroy them just because being the owner.

  3. James Weber July 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Who owns the land? Did the City, County who ever give the owner a permit to build?
    Then what is the problem he has a right to be there.

  4. Cain Gatell July 16, 2013 at 2:24 am

    The famous architect Frank Lloyd knew how to blend his designs with nature. The blatant box on the ridge line shows bad taste.

  5. Tim Davies July 15, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    When I own property, I want to be able to do what I want with that property so long as it is not harming others outside of my property. Not having a “perfect” ridge view is NOT harming anyone. These guys have a long stick up their arses.

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