“In my work, I’ve always been driven to explore the edges and to exploit the uniqueness of every project.”
Across a broad range of projects, which include residential, hospitality, creative work studios, and conceptual designs, principal Mark Olthoff is known for his drive to understand a project’s essential principles. From siting a cabin in rural Washington to solving a skylight detail in a Manhattan townhouse, Mark has a distinct ability to identify the core needs of client, site and program and carry them through from concept to completion. His design process embraces experimentation and risk, always with the goal of foregrounding a project’s defining essence. “In my work, I’ve always been driven to explore the edges and to exploit the uniqueness of every project,” Mark explains. “I want to find design solutions with a critical sensibility, where a perceived simplicity belies an underlying complexity of thought and process.”
Since joining Olson Kundig in 2003, Mark’s passion for understanding diverse landscapes and cultures has taken him to project locations around the world. Mark’s extensive travels reflect his deep-seated curiosity – from studying in the stables of Versailles while an undergraduate at the University of Illinois to making research trips to Colombia, Central Mexico and across Western Europe. A recipient of the esteemed Plym Traveling Fellowship from the Illinois School of Architecture, Mark spent a four-month residency in Europe in 2014 studying the relationship between architecture, environment and art.
A longtime advocate for the arts, today Mark is active in creative initiatives at Olson Kundig and in the larger Seattle community. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Artist Trust, and is a frequent guest critic and lecturer at the University of Washington’s Department of Architecture. Mark has led many of the firm’s creative endeavors, including Olson Kundig’s international Internship Program, its weekly Speaker Series program, and in-house design competitions.
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