Ocean Home 50: Our Top Coastal Architects of 2015 Olson Kundig Architects




Photo by Benjamin Benschneider

Olson Kundig is a Seattle-based design practice founded on the ideas that buildings can serve as a bridge between nature, culture and people, and that inspiring surroundings have a positive effect on people’s lives.

The firm’s work can be found across the globe, with projects as wide-ranging as secluded huts to contemporary high-rises, and private homes – often for art collectors – to academic, cultural and civic projects, museums, places of worship, creative production, urban design and interior design.

The firm is led by five owners – Jim Olson, Tom Kundig, Kirsten R. Murray, Alan Maskin and Kevin Kudo-King – who are supported by three principals, 21 associates, and a staff of approximately 100 in the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood of downtown Seattle.

The firm opened a workspace in New York in 2014 to better serve its expanding roster of East Coast and international clients. The in-house interiors studio, founded in 2000, provides a full range of services, including material selection, custom furniture design, and purchasing capabilities.

The geographical scope of the work has grown to cover five continents, in locations ranging from the coastal landscapes of Hawaii to intensively urban contexts in Manhattan and Mumbai.

But no matter the situation, the same philosophies – a careful consideration of the environment, attunement to local materials and culture, and seeking out the expertise and contributions of craftspeople, artists, and other outside experts – continue to apply to each new undertaking.

Among the firm’s accolades are the 2009 National AIA Architecture Firm Award (as Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects); dozens of national and regional design awards from the American Institute of Architects; American Architecture Awards from the Chicago Athenaeum; Jim Olson’s 2007 Seattle Medal of Honor; and Tom Kundig’s National Design Award from the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt and his Academy Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

All of the owners lecture extensively on design, regularly serve as university studio critics, and are board members for civic institutions and jury awards programs.

For more information, www.olsonkundigarchitects.com

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