International Awards Recognize Sustainable Approach to Design and Commitment to Social Responsibility


SEATTLE, WASH., Oct. 24, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Seattle design firm Olson Kundig Architects has been recognized with two (Re)design Awards from the American Institute of Graphic Art(AIGA). The 2013 AIGA (Re)design Awards is an international design competition recognizing work that not only looks good but strives to improve the lives of people and impacts on our planet—celebrating design that advocates for strong communities, sustainable environments and thriving economies. Alan Maskin of Olson Kundig Architects led the design for both of the award-winning projects; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center, and Mushroom Farm, an experimental mushroom growing installation and food education center at [storefront] Olson Kundig Architects.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center and Mushroom Farm utilized sustainable strategies from concept to construction. The Visitor Center is built from materials such as FSC-certified ash and repurposed wood—benches are made with wood from trees that were destined for wood chips or incineration, and recycled jeans were used for insulating and soundproofing the galleries. For Mushroom Farm, the greenhouse was made from recycled plywood form work that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill. The mushrooms themselves, were grown in a medium composed of coffee grounds sourced from local cafés including Café Umbria, Starbucks and Zeitgeist.

The design of the Visitor Center brings dimensionality and attention to the many people and partners touched by the foundation in discrete, easily understood segments. With an emphasis on ideas—the design seeks to create a personal relationship between the visitor and the mission and work of the foundation. Likewise, Mushroom Farm was as much a social experiment as it was a growing experiment, bringing the Seattle community together during open-house lunch hours and with a series of public events. Mushroom Farm sparked new relationships within the community, fostered dialogue about new business practices that include localized urban agriculture as a viable food source, and increased awareness of urban food and waste systems.

[storefront] Olson Kundig Architects was an experimental installation space co-directed by Olson Kundig Architects principals Alan Maskin and Kirsten Murray.

The 34 AIGA (Re)design award recipients are on display at AIGA (Re)Design Awards.

About Olson Kundig Architects

Olson Kundig Architects is a Seattle-based architecture firm led by owners Jim Olson, Tom Kundig, Kirsten R. Murray, and Alan Maskin. With a staff just over 100, the office specializes in a range of projects both nationally and internationally, including new and renovated residences, particularly for art collectors; mixed-use buildings; academic and civic projects; museums and exhibit design; cultural centers; places of worship; urban design; and interior design. The firm was the recipient of the 2009 Architecture Firm Award, awarded by the American Institute of Architects. For additional information, visit Olson Kundig Architects.

About AIGA

AIGA, the professional association for design, advances design as a professional craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force. As the largest community of design advocates, we bring together practitioners, enthusiasts and patrons to amplify the voice of design and create the vision for a collective future. We define global standards and ethical practices, guide design education, inspire designers and the public, enhance professional development, and make powerful tools and resources accessible to all. Visit AIGA.

About AIGA (Re)design Awards

The AIGA (Re)design Awards is a distinct biennial design competition and awards show that recognizes the importance of sustainable and socially-responsible design. It celebrates design willing to reach for excellence on all levels. The competition was started in 2009 by AIGA Colorado and hosted again in 2011 by AIGA Los Angeles. The 2013 competition and awards show was conducted by AIGA Minnesota on behalf of AIGA. Visit AIGA (Re)Design Awards.

Photos accompanying this release are available at:

CONTACT: Matt Anderson Olson Kundig Architects matt@olsonkundig.comSource:Olson Kundig Architects