Olson Kundig Office
Olson Kundig Office
Located in the Washington Shoe Building in the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood of downtown Seattle, Olson Kundig’s Office is an expression of our design practice and office culture. Since 2003, we have undertaken a series of renovations to the 19th-century building, using our office as a laboratory for design experimentation. Each renovation brings greater legibility to Olson Kundig’s identity and design culture, reflecting our key values of experimentation, collaboration and connection.
A central feature of the design is a 14-by-25-foot counterweighted, hydro-powered skylight that caps the central atrium stair connecting all three floors. The skylight uses only city water pressure as an energy source to move building parts, allowing visitors to interact with and alter the space. The skylight provides natural ventilation and access to daylight, and serves as a focal point “art machine” and systems R&D investigation.
The main Commons area is the heart of the office and serves as a flexible gathering space for weekly staff meetings, Thursday Crits, lunchtime presentations and daily breakout meetings. Here, kinetic walls and adaptable seating transform to accommodate a range of uses. The adjacent 1,000-square-foot shop and maker space allows designers to quickly test ideas and materials, or create proof-of-concept models and architectural assembly prototypes.
No one who constructed this building could have predicted that it would take on so many uses over the years. That prototype of inevitable change is important to us and influences our work.Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA
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