October 06,2023

2010 AD100: Olson Kundig Architects

by David Stewart

“Living in the Northwest makes us inherently sensitive to nature,” notes Jim Olson (front), who, with partners (from left) Rick Sundberg, Tom Kundig and Scott Allen, heads an 82-person, Seattle-based firm devoted, according to Kundig, “to finding inspiration in the ‘nature of nature,’ with its underlying physical and biological attributes, its efficiencies and invention, and the beauty of its resolution.” Adds Sundberg, “Issues of sustainable design combine very well with our clean, straightforward aesthetic.”

The portfolio of Olson Kundig Architects encompasses the mixed-use Pike and Virginia Building, the first contemporary structure to be built in Seattle’s Pike Place Market Historical District in 50 years, as well as a new 600-square-foot cabin in the Cascade Mountains and an artist’s concreteblock compound in the high desert outside Sun Valley, Idaho. Institutional projects and residences showcasing major art collections make up a significant component of the firm’s practice (expanded recently to include an interiors department); a heliski camp on the boards is, says Kundig, “as rewarding as our best work in its potential to push limits.” Technology is spurring the firm’s investigations into design and delivery. “We like to think,” explains Allen, “that our pursuit of the more elemental aspects of architecture will allow good design to be enjoyed by more and more people.”

Olson Kundig Architects



  • David Stewart
  • October 06,2023

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