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photo of Jim Olson Honored with University of Washington Distinguished Alumni Award

Jim Olson Honored with University of Washington Distinguished Alumni Award


We are pleased to announce that Olson Kundig principal/founder Jim Olson, FAIA, has been selected for a 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Washington Department of Architecture. The Distinguished Alumni Award honors alumni whose career achievements in architecture and the broader community have made a significant contribution to the built environment of the Puget Sound region and beyond. Recipients of this award are individuals who have had a distinguished career as evidenced in the excellence of their built work, the significance of their impact on the community, and the generosity of their commitment to the education of future architects.

As principal/founder of Olson Kundig, Jim Olson has explored the aesthetic interplay of art, nature and architecture, and the relationship between light and space, for over fifty years. Jim has received numerous honors including the AIA Seattle Medal of Honor and many national and international design awards recognizing his projects and the firm collectively. Olson Kundig has received an AIA National Architecture Firm Award, been included on the AD100 list fifteen times, and named one of the Top Ten Most Innovative Companies in Architecture by Fast Company four times. Jim’s projects have been published worldwide and are the focus of four monographs: Jim Olson Houses; Art + Architecture: The Ebsworth Collection and Residence; Jim Olson: Art in Architecture; and Jim Olson: Building • Nature • Art. His work was the subject of a traveling career retrospective that originated in 2011 at the Museum of Art at Washington State University, as well as a solo exhibition at the University of Washington in 2015. With a natural, timeless, and elegant character, Jim’s work has had a subtle influence on architecture worldwide.

“It’s a great honor to receive this distinction from the University of Washington Department of Architecture,” Jim shares. “The insights I gained from my UW professors continue to guide me to this day, and I am deeply grateful for them.”

The 2023 awards will be presented on April 13 at UW’s Alumni Awards Event. For more information about the program, please visit the UW Department of Architecture Alumni Awards site.