Most employees commute to the office, but one employee in the US commutes in his office.
These photos show an incredible home studio on wheels, mounted on 33.5 m (110 ft) long railway tracks that can be moved between the owner’s house and a nearby forest – to give him the feeling of ‘commuting’.
The cartoonishly imaginative Washington state setup was created by Seattle Olson Kundig Architectswho, in coming up with the design, “talked about the importance of leaving the main house and commuting as part of the experience.”
From there, they came up with the idea of deploying the homeowner “into the woods,” wondering, “How cool would it be to take his office and put it on rails?”
The inspiration for the wacky two-story office also came from the remains of the railroad tracks found on the home’s grounds during excavation. Northern Railway.
This two-story studio in Washington State is mounted on a railroad track between a house and a forest
The cartoonishly imaginative design was created by Seattle-based Olson Kundig Architects
The short section of 15 ft (4.5 m) gauge track on which the studio stands is formed from recycled track from the Great Northern Railway
The office was created for Lou Maxon, who runs his branding agency ‘Maxon’ from his home just outside the small town of Carnation.
Lou is able to move his studio back and forth for his “commute” using a modified control panel inside that used to be installed in a locomotive made by the late 20th century Burlington Northern Railway Company.
And a stabilizer bar on the track “informed by Japanese high-speed trains… prevents the tower from tipping over during an earthquake.”
The office was designed to resemble a traditional train carriage with crew accommodations called a caboose, with further individual design elements also paying homage to the world of railroading.
The bright yellow studio door matches the original paint color of the striping on Great Northern trains, while plywood was chosen as the interior wall cladding due to its widespread use in railway carriages.
A control panel in the office space is used to propel the studio back and forth
The control panel used to be installed in a locomotive made by the late 20th century Burlington Northern railway company
The office was created for Lou Maxon, who runs his branding agency ‘Maxon’ from his home just outside the small town of Carnation
The office was designed to resemble a traditional train car with crew accommodations called a caboose
The lower level serves as the main workspace, with a built-in desk and shelving for storage and display.
The upper level is accessed by a steel ladder, with a small dumbwaiter to carry heavy or bulky items.
“Intended as a quieter zone for creative exploration and restoration, this level functions much like a dome on a train’s galley, a high vantage point from which to look out over the landscape,” the designers say.
“When I first saw the studio after construction, I was amazed,” say the designers
Lou shares his thoughts on the design, saying, “I remember an elementary school teacher yelling at me and saying, ‘Get your head out of the clouds.’ In the studio, like a caboose, the lower floor is the working area, and the upper floor is a kind of big whole, more up in the clouds.
“Now every day when I’m there I think, ‘This is perfect.’ I literally live in the clouds.’
Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects weighs in: ‘When we started designing a studio for Lou, we talked about the importance of leaving the main house and having commuting as part of the experience.
Plywood was chosen as interior wall cladding because of its widespread use in railroad cars
“How cool would it be to take his office and put it on rails?” said the designers when brainstorming ideas for the project
Inside, the lower level (left) is the main workspace, with a built-in desk and numerous shelves for storage and display. The upper level (right) is accessed by a steel ladder, with a small service lift to carry heavy or bulky items
“I kind of jokingly said, ‘Could we put Lou in the woods? How cool would it be to take his office and put it on rails?’ It started off as a casual comment, but we quickly realized we all wanted to figure out how to make it happen.”
He continues: ‘When I first saw the studio after construction, I was amazed. It’s a beautiful object, beautifully manufactured, but moving it over the track is a completely different experience.’
While this was a bespoke project for the client, Kundig says he “could envision creating something similar in the future, once it catered to a specific client need or desire.”
The bright yellow studio door matches the original paint color of the striping on Great Northern trains