Brad Satterwhite and Jonathon Kemnitzer of Kem Studio approached designing the Modern Lodge from the standpoint — or shall we say viewpoint — of a photographer.
“One of the most rewarding aspects of this project was the Walshes and their lifestyle and how Austin really blurs the line between his work and personal life,” says Satterwhite, lead architect on the project. Austin Walsh, the homeowner, is a commercial photographer. “We were able to take what’s important to him and utilize that in the concept of the front of the home serving as an aperture that leads to a picture-perfect view of the lake and gives the experience that he is leaving his days in the city behind as he enters the house.”
Satterwhite studied architecture at the University of Kansas and studied for a fifth year with the Kansas City Design Center, a nonprofit that tries to resolve critical urban design issues. Like most modern architects, he considers himself a generalist and is drawn to a wide variety of architects, artists and industrial designers for inspiration.
“As for architects specifically, it would be classics like Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and most recently people like Steven Holl,” he said. The latter designed the Bloch Building at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Kem Studio, which Satterwhite, Kemnitzer and Jon Taylor founded 12 years ago, designs everything from residential, commercial and buildings to products. Their homes, apartment buildings, condominiums and workplaces are liberally sprinkled throughout the city and beyond.
They’ve also won dozens of regional and national awards over the years, including the 2016 Eames Good Design Challenge, for giving an Eames chair a makeover by drilling holes into it and threading thick yarn through it, which serves as both a cushion and a design element. The prestigious award is sponsored by Herman Miller and the John A. Marshall Co..
But designing houses, Satterwhite says, is most rewarding because people create memories in them.
“Residential projects are definitely special in that regard. They’re just so personal,” he says. “And our design process is to really understand every aspect of the client and their lifestyle before we start drawing, so we can find opportunities to enhance and support the lifestyle that is uniquely them.”