It has been a little over three years since Donald Olsen passed away, but the impact that he had on the architecture of the Bay Area is still palpable. Olsen cut his own path at a time when modernism in Northern California was decidedly woodsy and rustic. His homes were pure and unadorned formal expressions that stood out even in the very crowded field of talented local architects in which he found himself.
The home we feature today is one of a cluster of Olsen-designed structures on San Diego Road. It is a particularly special example because it is the home that Donald shared with his wife Helen for over sixty years, raising their family, and entertaining clients and students alike. It is a fitting monument to the great quality and indeed rigor of Bay Area architecture during the 1950s.