An interest in community and a love of art defines this couple and their Lake Washington home. The couple’s extensive collection of Northwest art helped inspire the home’s design, where art demarcates the central space with two gallery walls that flank a central corridor. This is the long spine of the home from which the living, dining, family and kitchen areas flow. Art links the indoors and outdoors as expansive windows offer sweeping views of Lake Washington from the inside and frame exterior views of the artworks within.

Architect: Olson Kundig
Location: Seattle, WA
Status: Built; Completed 2015
Project Size: 10,000 sq ft

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
Contractor: Schultz Miller
Photographer: Aaron Leitz, Benjamin Benschneider

Northwest Art House by Olson Kundig - Sheet6
© Aaron Leitz, Benjamin Benschneider

A sense of generosity also informed the architectural program. In order to preserve a view corridor to the lake for their closest neighbors, the owners requested that their 10,000-square-foot house sit perpendicular to the water.

Northwest Art House by Olson Kundig - Sheet7
© Aaron Leitz, Benjamin Benschneider

The resulting arrangement of building to site created opportunities for a small cabana building with showers, an outdoor pool, a covered cooking space, and a lush garden where family and guests can enjoy the outdoors.

Northwest Art House by Olson Kundig - Sheet9
© Aaron Leitz, Benjamin Benschneider

The couple’s dedication to sharing their art gave rise to 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 result is a home perfectly suited to the owners, but adaptable enough to accommodate changing uses for friends, family and the Northwest arts community.

Northwest Art House by Olson Kundig - Sheet11
© Aaron Leitz, Benjamin Benschneider

“The expansiveness of the views and the proximity to Lake Washington make the home feel almost like a houseboat floating on the water.” –Jim Olson, FAIA, Design Principal


Olson Kundig is a collaborative global design practice whose work expands the context of built and natural landscapes. Led by five owners, the firm’s work can be found in more than fifteen countries on five continents, with projects ranging from cultural and museum projects to exhibition design, commercial and mixed-use design, private and multi-family residential, hospitality projects, places of worship, interior design, product design and landscape design.


Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.

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