The best architects are those who collaborate with their clients to understand the “why” of the project before they jump in to the “what” of the project. They explain what they do and how they do it. They help clients manage their expectations and push them gently to become fellow visionaries. That’s how we do it, anyway. So that’s why we were thrilled to see an article on Olson Kundig Architects in Seattle. They’re an architecture firm who has taken the creative process, and architect/client collaboration, several steps further.

[storefront] Mushroom Farm

After the recession, Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square was noticeably affected. Olson Kundig Architects owned a building with an empty storefront. Rather than letting it sit empty, they decided to use it as an experiment of sorts, naming the space [storefront], and inviting local artists, political organizations, and the community to begin brainstorming.

[storefront] Mushroom Farm

The space is a large room with significant window space. The installations are temporary. Community partners whose projects have been approved must use scavenged materials and volunteer labor. Then they have one month to complete their installation. In the meantime, Olson Kundig’s architects have the opportunity to assist in never-before-seen ideas, problem solving, and architectural design strategies that think outside the box.

[storefront] Image: Metropolis Magazine

To date, [storefront] has been a museum’s record archive (where visitors could listen to records), a poetry lab, a mushroom farm, a dancers’ stage, a free book store, and more.

At Leslie Saul & Associates Architecture and Interiors, we love the process of sharing and shaping ideas with our clients. If you are interested in Boston architecture or design services with a creative, accessible bent, give us a call today!