New York, New York, United States
As a designer, Olin McKenzie is strongly influenced by his experience of cities—the spaces, patterns, and buildings that contribute to the novelty and wonder of urban living. His architectural sensibility is deeply invested in restraint and clarity. For Olin, rich, layered work can be most powerfully achieved through an economy of design moves.
When he joined SOM in 2006, Olin initially worked in the education sector, with key projects including the Raffles American School in Iskandar, Malaysia, and a collection of student activity and athletic facilities for the new Kuwait University. He later went on to design some of SOM’s most dynamic and influential transportation projects—including Brightline, encompassing three passenger rail stations in South Florida, and the Philadelphia 30th Street Station District Plan.
I’ve always been fascinated by the power of storytelling in design. Narrative can imbue architecture with meaning and has a magic ability to coalesce the myriad aspects of a project—from program, to culture, to aesthetics—into synthetic union.
Olin has also focused his design attention on a series of progressive commercial office projects that explore new ways of thinking about work. Most recently, he led the design of 1245 Broadway, a boutique office tower in the fast-changing NoMad neighborhood of Manhattan. The 22-story project is rendered in a textured, architecturally exposed concrete, and creates an ecosystem of staggered outdoor terraces, varied and flexible floor plates, and triple-glazed bay windows that celebrate the power of framed views.