Tom Kundig

Architect / United States / Olson Kundig Architects

Tom Kundig’s Book List

These are books that have deeply affected how I understand the world. Ultimately what I’ve taken in through these books affects how I approach my work.

1 book
Jun’ichiro Tanizaki

This has been an important book for my career. I’ve read it multiple times—it continues to be meaningful and I don't expect that will change. Shadows are more important than objects because they enter the realm of the mysterious. The white space is more important than the stroke of the pen. Shadows are the silent reason that objects are recognized; they give them shape. Shadows represent the soul of a place or object. To say it another way, the space between combatants is where the battle takes place.

This book was a touchstone for me when I was designing Shadowboxx, on Lopez Island in the San Juans. The house’s shutters and doors create layers that can either protect or expose, and the moving parts create a drama of shadow and light. It’s really hard to capture that in a photograph—you really have to be in the space to understand it.

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