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October 17, 2014
The celebrated Seattle architectural practice takes over a Nebraska gallery space for its first-ever retrospective.
Rolling Huts by Olson Kundig

Olson Kundig designed the Rolling Huts in Mazama, Washington, for a client who needed space to house visiting friends and family. The huts sit lightly on the site, a former RV campground in an alpine river valley. The huts are sited to capture views of the mountains and not one another.

Courtesy of 
Olson Kundig
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Art Stable by Olson Kundig

The firm designed Art Stable, an urban infill project in Seattle's rapidly developing South Lake Union neighborhood. The seven-story mixed-use building was erected on the site of a former horse stable.

Courtesy of 
Benjamin Benschneider
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242 State Street by Olson Kundig

Olson Kundig refurbished this 1950s building as a flexible off-site exhibition space for SFMOMA's Project Los Altos in downtown Los Altos, California. The firm replaced the front facade with a double-height, floor-to-ceiling window wall that can be raised or lowered at the whim of the user.

Courtesy of 
Bruce Damonte
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Delta Shelter by Olson Kundig

This 1,000 square-foot weekend cabin in Mazama, Washington, is essentially a "steel box on stilts," according to the firm. The three-story structure, which includes a living room and kitchen, can be completely shuttered when the owner is away.

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Chicken Point Cabin by Olson Kundig

The defining feature of this lakeside cabin in northern Idaho is a 30-by-20-foot window wall that opens the living area to the surrounding lake and forest. Concrete blocks, steel, and plywood make up the simple palette of materials.

Courtesy of 
Olson Kundig
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Earth House by Olson Kundig

Designed in 1968 for a former U.S. ambassador to Iceland, the Earth House in Longbranch, Washington, was inspired by the sod-roof houses common in Reykjavik. The house, which was cut into a hillside, and pool were sited to capture views of Mount Rainier.

Courtesy of 
Mary Randlett
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Olson Kundig retrospective at KANEKO

A view of the Olson Kundig retrospective exhibition at KANEKO in Omaha, Nebraska.

Courtesy of 
Olson Kundig
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Rolling Huts by Olson Kundig

Olson Kundig designed the Rolling Huts in Mazama, Washington, for a client who needed space to house visiting friends and family. The huts sit lightly on the site, a former RV campground in an alpine river valley. The huts are sited to capture views of the mountains and not one another.

Olson Kundig Architects of Seattle is mounting its first-ever retrospective, putting five decades of its designs on display in a gallery in Omaha, Nebraska, this fall.

The show, which runs through January 3 at the KANEKO gallery, gives visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the firm’s creative process while showcasing the artistic, historic, and cultural influences that have shaped its designs.

Founded in 1966 by Jim Olson, Olson Kundig has evolved from a small architecture office working mostly in the Pacific Northwest into an international design firm. Its portfolio has grown to include museum, commercial, and academic buildings, as well as mixed-use projects and places of worship. Private residences, however, remain its primary stock in trade.

The exhibition will highlight some of the firm’s longstanding traditions, notably its weekly all-office critiques. Every Thursday, employees gather in a conference room to update and solicit feedback from their colleagues on projects they are working on. The exhibition includes an interactive feature titled “What Would You Do?” that invites visitors to contribute thoughts and suggestions about a series of the firm’s projects.

“Some aspects of making architecture are universal to all design practices,” says Alan Maskin, a partner at Olson Kundig and the designer of the exhibition, “but those that distinguish us are more interesting.”

The exhibition also includes large-scale photographs and scale models that provide a survey of the firm’s portfolio, supplemented by video interviews and footage as well as ephemera contributed by the firm’s staff members.

KANEKO is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

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