olson sundberg kundig allen architects, seattle

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but in the hands of Tom Kundig, FAIA, rudimentary solutions become bold and celebratory. The latest example of his trademark big thinking is this artist's studio in Seattle's patchwork Pike Street corridor. The client, a painter and printmaker who lives nearby, wanted a flexible workspace where she could also host cultivation events for art venues. Kundig thus preserved the building's weathered roughness while fabricating floating elements that can change the shape and use of the room. Four white dividing walls slide or pivot as needed to control light and circulation; they also provide places to hang the art and study it in different kinds of light.

All of the furniture has wheels for easy rolling, but the pièce de résistance is a 26-foot-long table, live-cut from a Douglas fir tree. “The table is a wink and a nod to the character of the space,” Kundig says. Set on steamroller-type wheels welded from steel pipe, the table spends most of its time near the kitchenette as a work/dining surface, but it can also be wheeled out grandly for movable feasts.

The judges thought the architect's ideas, including the entryway clad in mild steel, were terrific. “The whole thing is flexible, and I love the materials,” raved one judge.

principal in charge / project architect / interior designer: Tom Kundig, FAIA, Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects
project team: Dan Wilson and Kenny Wilson, Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects
general contractor: Walt Riehl, Riehl Construction, Seattle
project size: 4,000 square feet
construction cost: Withheld
photography: Benjamin Benschneider