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And the OSKAr Goes To...
Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects named AIA Firm of the Year
An ornamented skylight in the Wing Luke Asian Museum in Seattle.
Laura Swimmer/Courtesy OSKA Architects

The American Institute of Architects today announced that it was giving its 2009 Firm of Year Award to Seattle-based Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects (OSKA). A constant presence in local and national AIA Honor Awards, the firm is especially noted for its residential work, which combines compelling, gritty industrial materials with the organic warmth of nature. Landscape is almost always incorporated into the firms’ projects, and structural details are carefully crafted—often left in their raw state.

Founded by Partner Jim Olson in 1971, the Seattle-based firm is also known for its populist office culture, with wide firm participation on most projects among its 85-person staff, and for its focus on continual education. Among the firm’s more than 65 regional and national awards, its Delta Shelter, a small retreat that combines an exposed steel frame, hot rolled steel sheets, and wood infill walls, won an AIA National Award in January.

The Delta Shelter
Tim bies/Courtesy OSKA Architects

This year, the firm also completed the Wing Luke Asian Museum in Seattle, a creative adaptive reuse project, and the stark but soaring Montecito House in Southern California. Furthermore, partner Tom Kundig took home a 2008 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award this fall.

The firm will be presented with the award at the American Architectual Foundation’s Accent on Architecture Gala in February, along with Gold Medal winner Glenn Murcutt and Adèle Naudé Santos, who received the Topaz Medallion for outstanding educator. Last year's winning firm was Philadelphia's KieranTimberlake Associates.

Sam Lubell