Hong Kong Villa

Location Shek-O, China
Design Principal Jim Olson

Set on a rocky hillside overlooking the South China Sea in Shek-O, a historic fishing village in the southeast corner of Hong Kong Island, this house is designed to face the elements and bring in the stunning views of the coastal scenery. The design includes large expanses of glass revealing dramatic views in every direction; seamless transitions from inside to outside merge the house into its landscape, while broad overhangs provide protection from the tropical sun and driving rains.

Always, the emphasis is on nature, views and vistas, natural materials and nature as the focus of the architecture and the subject of art. Outside, the gardens, the broad overhangs, the use of stone and the complete integration of landscape and architecture spring from ancient Chinese traditions.

Jim Olson Design Principal

On the uphill side of the house, the formal entry is accessed via a large central courtyard that incorporates a reflecting pool. Flanking that dramatic central entry space are the more intimate portions of the house—the living and dining areas—with private quarters book-ending the single-level plan. A second pool runs along the ocean side of the house, visually merging with the water and island-studded coastline in the distance.

An island in the South China Sea is framed, just off center, as the culmination of a sequential series of experiences.

Artist Mary Ann Peters painted a full-length wall mural in the gallery that crosses the central axis.

Inspired by traditional Chinese architecture and furniture, the house uses a simple palette of materials—concrete, steel, wood, limestone and glass—relying on exacting detail and craftsmanship to provide the visual counterpoint.



Design Principal

Jim Olson

Project Manager

William Franklin

Interior Design Collaborator

Charlie Hellstern

Interior Design Collaborator

Debbie Kennedy



International Interior Design Association Northern Pacific Chapter INawards, Best in Competition: Home



Browne, Beth. Masterpiece: Iconic Houses by Great Contemporary Architects. Victoria: Images Publishing, Oct. 2012. Book.

“Where Old Meets New.” International Architecture & Design (IAD), Spring 2012, cover, 54-61, 112-113. Print.


21st Century Houses: 150 of the World’s Best. Victoria: Images Publishing, April 2010, 166-169. Book.

Bennett, Sam. “Local team helps build Hong Kong mansion.” Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, 28 Jan. 2010. Print. Web. 

“Jim Olson discusses Hong Kong mansion.” Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, 15 Sept. 2010, 3. Print. Web.

Schmid, Lydia. “Leben mit Kunst.” ELLE Decoration Germany, Oct. 2010, cover, 108-115. Print.

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