Kirsten R. Murray is deeply engaged with issues of context—how a building relates and responds to its surroundings. Her projects emerge from the design aesthetic of the Pacific Northwest, in which the built and natural environments have a strong dialogue, and where the sense of craft and materiality is evident in the architecture. Murray brings this sense to many of the firm’s projects, exploring how environmental factors can interact with concepts of urban design to create flexible environments that promote healthy living and community.
Murray joined the firm in 1989 and became an owner in 2008. She works across a broad range of project types including mixed-use and single family residential design, adaptive reuse, workplace design, and urban design and planning. She has collaborated on projects that have received National AIA Honor Awards and AIA Housing Awards, including Outpost, Tye River Cabin, and the mixed-use projects Art Stable and 1111 E. Pike. Current and recent projects include the Casey Family Foundation Headquarters, 1900 First Avenue Hotel and Apartments, Riley’s Cove Residence, Kirkland Market and the Tacoma Art Museum Plaza Redesign and Expansion.
Murray’s project work has been published in a variety of magazines and books, including The New York Times, Architectural Digest, Interior Design, Architectural Record and Architecture. Projects on which she has worked are included in the monographs Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects: Architecture, Art and Craft (The Monacelli Press, 2003), The Good Office: Green Design on the Cutting Edge (Collins, 2008), Archinature (Beta Plus, 2010) and Tom Kundig: Houses 2 (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011).
Murray teaches and lectures around the country on topics related to design and architectural practice, recently serving as a visiting juror at Syracuse and Washington State Universities. Murray was the featured lecturer at the 2010 Bowman Design Forum at the Kansas State University College of Architecture, Planning and Design. Since 2008, she has served as both juror and chair on numerous AIA juries at the local, state, regional and national level. She most recently served as a juror for the 2011 AIA National Honor Awards.
Murray and fellow principal Alan Maskin were instrumental in creating the firm’s intern program and [storefront] Olson Kundig Architects, an experimental work space for the firm’s community collaborations, pro-bono design work, philanthropic and volunteer work, and for design research and the development of design ideas.
She serves on the Board of Trustees for the University of Washington’s Henry Art Gallery where she is the secretary of the Executive Committee, and she is the vice president of the Board of Directors for ARCADE, a Seattle-based nonprofit that creates opportunities for sharing ideas about design, culture and the built environment. She has a Master of Architecture degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Design from the University of Colorado.