Olson Kundig Architects
2012 AIA Seattle Honor Award
Photo Credit: Dwight Eschliman, Benjamin Benschneider
Known as an architect who "sits down and draws" rather than carrying on in a public way, he has nevertheless inspired his fellow and future architects with a series of masterful achievements which have garnered national acclaim. Over nearly five decades of practice, Henry has put in writing his reverence for the art of architecture, in articles and speeches.
His induction into the AIA College of Fellows took place in 1981. His colleagues recognized his influence on Northwest architecture in conferring the AIA Seattle Medal on Henry Klein in 1995. On receiving the Medal at the AIA Seattle Honors Gala, Henry Klein offered these remarks:
"Six years ago Issac Bashevis Singer, the writer of wonderful stories in Yiddish based on his own experience, received a medal from the Mayor of New York. Tonight I feel (as he must have) when he said that he never sought after medals nor imagined having one; but since God made medals he must have intended that they be given to someone. I am very grateful to you for choosing me for this great honor.
"A large part of this medal belongs to my two partners, David Hall and Lowell Larsen, partners of twenty years, who lent their talent and knowledge of buildings to our enterprise; and old friends who inspired and helped when I practiced alone and needed help; and the many young people with new skills and fresh viewpoints who pitch in to make our work become reality. They allowed me to hold and keep this simple notion of architecture as the spaces we separate (capture) from the infinite space surrounding us and then enclose: spaces that still retain all the various and changing light, colors, textures, sounds and mysteries of the universe. but because architecture is of human scale and dimensions, we can bring these wonders home and make them felt by ordinary people of all ages, backgrounds and stations in life.
"This simple gift of architecture to us gets me out of bed every morning, looking forward to the small discoveries the day may bring. I need not tell you that our profession has its ups and downs. When discouragement and disillusionment grip me in the future, as they will, I will pull out my medal from the top drawer in my desk to remind myself that there was a day, not so long ago, when my colleagues thought well enough of me and our work to honor me in this way. It will feel even better then than it does now.
"Thank you for this great honor."
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