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photo of Olson Kundig Expands Ownership Group

Olson Kundig Expands Ownership Group


Olson Kundig is pleased to announce the expansion of the firm’s ownership group with the elevation of nine Principals to Principal/Owner: Marlene Chen, Jerry Garcia, Edward Lalonde, Blair Payson, Steven Rainville, Daniel Ralls, Jamie Slagel, Enrique Vela and Ming-Lee Yuan. The new owners represent the next generation of leadership at Olson Kundig, joining the firm’s five existing owners – Tom Kundig, Kirsten Ring Murray, Alan Maskin, Kevin Kudo-King and Hemanshu Parwani (HP) – as well as principal and founder Jim Olson, who continues to lead the design of numerous projects and support firm leadership and cultural initiatives. This evolution of the ownership structure reflects the firm’s long-standing commitment to strategic talent management, creating opportunities for staff advancement and growth while continuing to deliver exceptional, client-centered projects.

Marlene Chen, AIA, LEED® AP, is a skilled project and people manager, able to balance the concerns of budget, schedule, client needs and design goals. Much of her work at the firm, such as the Bay Area Discovery Museum and Tillamook Creamery, has centered around translating narrative storytelling into three-dimensional, experiential architecture and exhibit design for a variety of clients across cultural, commercial and technology sectors. In recognition of her leadership in staff development, culture and operations throughout Olson Kundig, Marlene has also been named as the firm’s Chief Operating Officer.

Jerry Garcia, LEED® AP, serves as the firm’s interface with the art world via participation on boards, speaking engagements and collaborations with artists. He provides art consultation for both private and commercial clients at a variety of scales and locales, including Collywood and JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa. With strong relationships with prestigious artists, galleries and auction houses, Jerry has developed an approach to art consultation that aspires to the timeless, while celebrating our collective moment.

Edward Lalonde’s approach to architecture combines playful creativity and rigorous pragmatism, allowing innovative design solutions to emerge from this dialogue. His work includes private residences and commercial projects around the world characterized by an understanding of the human-scale experience of space, such as Rio House and The Burke Museum. Rooted in the belief that artistry and performance are inherently linked, Edward seeks to creatively navigate constraints while integrating a rigorous level of technical detail and care.

Blair Payson, AIA, LEED® AP, is a maker at heart and revels in the details of architecture. He has worked on multiple cultural and institutional projects, including the Century Project at the Space Needle, as well as residences across the Western United States and Mexico and more transitory installations that fuse art and architecture. Blair is able to distill these complex projects into distinct culminating moments that both inform and excite. He seeks to inspire through the poetic, yet his designs are informed by a deep appreciation of history and rigorous research.

Steven Rainville, AIA, LEED® AP, is influenced by the legacy of his grandfather and father, both craftsmen and builders. As leader of Olson Kundig’s research and innovation initiatives, he pushes the firm to deeply engage with over-arching considerations like energy performance and community accessibility that ultimately create a foundation for progress. Steven is drawn to the expression of craft and tectonics in architecture and leads many of the firm’s most complex projects, such as 760 Ralph McGill Boulevard and the LeBron James Innovation Center at Nike World Headquarters.

Daniel Ralls, AIA, has a background in building and fabrication, giving him a deep appreciation for the overlapping areas of expertise needed to bring projects to completion. In his projects, including the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art and Mexico Residence, Daniel values close working relationships with local craftspeople to determine how best to incorporate their particular expertise and regional building traditions into the design process. Daniel especially enjoys the problem-solving aspect of his work, always striving for excellence in his designs.

Jamie Slagel’s design approach is all about the pivot points, grand and quiet moments where the experience of a space shifts and becomes surprising. Crediting her rural background and upbringing in Montana, Jamie brings a keen sensitivity to the landscape to her projects, which range from Georgetown Brewing Company to large-scale hospitality developments like the new One&Only Moonlight Basin Resort. She continues to explore site-specific construction methods, driven by local traditions and materials, to improve efficiency, sustainability and building performance.

Enrique Vela, AIA, IIDA, leads Olson Kundig’s Interiors Studio, providing strategic management and design oversight for a wide range of work across market sectors, from single-family residential and hospitality to commercial and workplace. His working style is characterized by close collaboration with craftspeople, artisans and fabricators, leading to creation of custom interior elements and furniture pieces that harmonize with the architecture. This “macro to micro” philosophy of design means big ideas extend to the smallest details, giving coherence to the entire experience of the built environment.

Ming-Lee Yuan, AIA, NOMA, is passionate about design that centers the human experience, from a family in a private home like Capital House to the diverse users of a public building such as Tillamook Creamery. A champion for service both internally and externally, Ming believes architects have a responsibility to positively contribute to the future of built and natural environments by prioritizing inclusivity and accessibility, incorporating sustainable practices and materials, and continually pushing for better building performance and long-term resiliency. Outside of her project work, Ming is a dedicated mentor and leads the firm’s Social Equity Community.

“I’m honored to welcome these nine Principals as fellow Owners,” shared Principal/Owner and CEO Hemanshu Parwani (HP). “The multi-generational structure of Olson Kundig ensures that we are able to constantly develop new leaders and mentor rising talent, ensuring long-term operational resilience and strengthening our internal culture. This is an incredibly exciting step forward for the firm that will allow us to better serve our incredible clients and portfolio of ongoing projects around the world, while better meeting the needs of our staff.”