“Simple directions can create moments of true beauty and influence how we live and engage with our surrounding environment. To me, that is the power of architecture.”
Born, raised and educated in New Zealand, Simon Clews first joined Olson Kundig through the firm’s International Internship Program in 2009. He returned to Olson Kundig full-time in 2011 and was promoted to Associate in 2021.
Though Simon has worked on several public and cultural projects across Seattle and beyond, his passion and focus has been single-family residential design, spanning a wide range of diverse locations and scales. He has helped to expand the firm’s residential portfolio into Australia and New Zealand, beginning with Bilgola Beach House, Olson Kundig’s first built project in Australasia.
Simon enjoys working closely with clients and their families to create spaces that foster opportunities to engage with one another and the surrounding landscape. He approaches design as a shared journey between architect and client, from the initial spark of inspiration to the final, tangible building. Having grown up on a building site, Simon continues to appreciate chances to work through on-site challenges with construction and consultant teams. A natural collaborator and hands-on project manager, he credits both his design approach and working style to his upbringing in New Zealand’s culture of family connectivity, engagement with the natural world, and design informed by simple, practicality.
“As kiwis, we have a cultural and historic built tradition of the ‘bach,’ or holiday home,” Simon shares. “Traditionally this is a small structure created from available materials as a place primarily for shelter and warmth, whether in the mountains or on the beach. It has become a place where families and friends congregate and come together, in between moments of adventuring outdoors. It’s humble, but intentional; those simple directions can create moments of true beauty and influence how we live and engage with our surrounding environment. To me, that is the power of architecture.”
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center
- Bezos Center for Innovation at the Museum of History & Industry
- Microsoft Cybercrime Center
- Bilgola Beach House
- Occidental Park Pavilion
- Wagner Education Center at The Center for Wooden Boats