February 2010 – Owatonna, MN – Krech, O’Brien, Mueller & Associates recently announced their role in assisting with the move of The Winton Guest House, an “innovative yet playful” 2,300-square foot house built in 1987 and designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. The home is in the process of being moved from its site in Orono, Minnesota – where it overlooked Lake Minnetonka – to the University of St. Thomas’s Daniel C. Gainey Conference Center in Owatonna, Minnesota.

KOMA architects and structural engineers have been involved with the university and the conference center for some time, performing a feasibility study as plans to expand the facility were explored. Due in part to their familiarity with the conference center, KOMA was asked to assist in the facilitation of the Winton Guest House project.

KOMA plays several roles in the house-moving project, primarily acting as a coordinator between civil engineer Loucks Associates and contractor Sam Woods from Casey & Groesbeck. In addition to the coordinator role, KOMA architects Vince DiGiorno, AIA, and Marc DuBois, AIA, have worked closely with building officials from Steele County to analyze and review the change in building codes as the structure moves from a residential to a commercial setting.

In order to move the home the 75 miles to Owatonna, it was divided into eight sections, each one trucked separately to the new site. Once the home is reassembled, it will sit atop a new supporting foundation and basement designed by KOMA structural engineer and principal Jim Krech, PE. The eight pieces of the home are currently in Owatonna, but have yet to be reassembled.

DuBois said, “While the intricacies of moving a building like this one present some very real challenges, this has been an exciting and enjoyable project. The Winton Guest house is really an impressive home… the unusual pyramidal roof and the multiple shapes that compose the interior make it extraordinarily unique.”

He continued, “It’s been a pleasure to work alongside the team from Loucks Associates and Casey & Groesbeck, as well with the University of St. Thomas and officials from Steele County. A project like this one has many moving parts – from determining potential code issues to transportation of the various sections of the home to the structural needs of the foundation – but we feel like everyone involved has been pulling in the same direction.”

For more information about the Winton Guest House or the Daniel C. Gainey Conference Center, click here.