Northwest Art House / Olson Kundig


© Benjamin Benschneider

© Benjamin Benschneider
  • Architects: Olson Kundig
  • Location: Seattle, United States
  • Lead Architects: Olson Kundig
  • Project Team: Jim Olson, FAIA, Design Principal; William Franklin, Project Manager and Project Architect; Naho Ukeda and Crystal Coleman, LEED® AP, Architectural Staff; Charlie Hellstern, Interior Design; Cristina Acevedo and Irina Bokova, Interiors Staff
  • Area: 10000.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Benjamin Benschneider, Aaron Leitz
  • Contractor: Schultz Miller

© Benjamin Benschneider

© Benjamin Benschneider

“The owners were quite generous with the design of their home – they built it for themselves, but also to support the larger art community of which they are a part.” –Jim Olson, Design Principal


Plan

Plan

An interest in community and a love of art defines this couple and their Lake Washington home. Passionate art patrons, the clients requested that their extensive collection of glass, sculpture and two-dimensional art, mostly by Northwest masters, inspire their home’s design. The collection takes center stage and fills the home. The main floor is organized with a long spine from which the living, dining, family and kitchen areas flow. Art also links the indoors and outdoors, as exterior sculptures and custom glass pieces that delineate the home’s entrance draw visitors inside, through the home and to the waterfront terrace and lawn on the other side. Windows throughout offer sweeping views of Lake Washington from the inside, while also framing exterior views of the artwork within. This transparency creates a sense of openness and unity that balances the couple’s densely displayed art collection with nature, lake and sky.


© Benjamin Benschneider

© Benjamin Benschneider

© Benjamin Benschneider

© Benjamin Benschneider

The expansiveness of the views and the proximity to Lake Washington make the house feel almost like a houseboat floating on water. The clients requested that the 10,000-square-foot home be oriented so as to preserve a view corridor to Lake Washington for their closest neighbors. The resulting perpendicular orientation creates an outdoor room that includes a cabana building with showers and an orchid hothouse, a covered wood-fired pizza oven and open-air cooking space, and a garden in which both food-bearing and flowering plants enliven the landscape. A green roof with sedum and rooftop solar panels was specified to meet the clients’ environmental concerns.


© Benjamin Benschneider

© Benjamin Benschneider

A dedication to sharing their art with other collectors and artists motivated the couple to incorporate flexible features throughout the home for entertaining, including sliding panels for closing off private areas and emphasizing the central art corridor where guests can linger during gatherings. The main floor of the home primarily consists of spaces for family and guests, while bedrooms and small living spaces are located above.


© Aaron Leitz

© Aaron Leitz

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