An owner and principal of Olson Kundig, Kirsten Murray’s body of work is characterized by authentic, contextual buildings and spaces that result from a collaborative design partnership with her clients and colleagues. Since joining Olson Kundig in 1989, Kirsten has designed a range of project types, from private residences to mixed-used buildings, multi-family developments, art spaces, historic commercial renovations and urban design projects. Throughout her career, Kirsten has created buildings and spaces that strengthen and enrich communities. She is known for integrating stakeholders and community members throughout the process, shaping the design around their collective goals.
Kirsten is most inspired by projects that blend old and new – projects that draw on a collective intelligence of users and designers as well as community context and the character of surrounding elements. By translating the innate conditions of a site – its nature, culture, topography and history – into built form, Kirsten’s designs create new interpretations of place that remain relevant over time. Long inspired by Scandinavian modernist traditions, which are prevalent in her Pacific Northwest home base, Kirsten’s architecture emphasizes warmth, natural materiality, tactility and refinement.
Kirsten has long been an inquisitive leader within Olson Kundig itself, pioneering many of the core practices that have helped the firm grow from a small, regional architectural firm to an internationally recognized design practice with more than 160 employees. Many of these contributions, such as Olson Kundig’s international internship program, integrated studio organization, and community engagement programs, were cited as specific distinctions when the firm was honored with the AIA National Firm Award in 2009. In 2016, Kirsten was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows, having served on the National AIA Trust Board in a number of capacities, including chair, trustee, treasurer and vice-chair.
Her latest projects include Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, 9th & Thomas mixed-use building, Knack Collective coworking space, and multiple office spaces for tech clients around the world.