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Olson Kundig Receives AIA Small Project Award


We are honored to announce that Olson Kundig’s Sawmill is the recipient of a 2018 Small Project Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The AIA Small Project Awards recognizes small project practitioners for the high quality of their work and to promote excellence in small project design. Now in its 15th year, the program strives to raise public awareness of the value and design excellence that architects bring to projects, no matter the limits of size and scope. Called “elegant in its simplicity” by jurors, Sawmill represents the first AIA Small Project Award for Olson Kundig Principal/Owner Tom Kundig.

AIA defines “small project” as those with low construction cost and small building footprint. Sawmill was recognized for its emphasis on salvaged materials, which resulted in significant cost savings. Kundig’s design approach for the project was driven by a scavenger mentality – at every turn, Sawmill harnesses the opportunities presented by its remote site – seeking always to do more with less. The net-zero home operates completely off-grid, reducing environmental impact and operating costs.

Kundig notes, “It is an honor to receive this recognition from the AIA Small Project Awards. I believe that smaller projects and micro details present opportunities for quickly testing ideas – both poetic and technical – on how to create an architecture that relates to its context and connects people to place. I am grateful to our client for inviting me to work on this project and for having such worthy goals for a high-performing home.”

For more information on the AIA Small Project Awards, please visit

We are pleased to share the honor of this award with our valued partners and clients.

Sawmill, Tehachapi, California, USA

Design Principal: Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA
Project Manager: Elizabeth Bianchi Conklin, AIA, LEED® AP
Gizmo Design: Phil Turner
Client: Bruce Shafer and Carol Horst
General Contractor: Bruce Shafer
Structural Engineer: Monte Clark Engineering
Energy Engineer: WSP Flack + Kurtz
Corrugated Metal Roofing: Steelogic
Master Welder: James Riddle