Specializing in creative, responsible design that is uniquely suited to modern island living. We believe that building in the islands requires a sensitivity to local resources, local materials, and our island microclimate.
Good design matters.
Stoltz Kau Architects is a small office with a residential concentration located on Orcas Island in Washington’s San Juan Archipelago. Our focus is on well designed, thoughtful houses that reflect our unique island circumstance, as well as the families that call them home.
Architects Susan Stoltz and David Kau have been collaborating on projects for over 20 years, both as Stoltz Kau Architects, and formerly as Project Architect and Principal at Fernau and Hartman Architects in Berkeley, CA. Their practice specializes in designing innovative solutions uniquely suited to client and site. The starting point for each design is a rigorous study of site, client needs, microclimate and built context. Their designs focus on natural daylighting strategies, color, material juxtaposition, a dynamic use of space, and a respect for the landscape and environment. Intentionally keeping the practice small with a limited number of projects allows a “hands on” approach from initial brainstorming sessions to moving day.
In the last 20 years they have completed a wide range of residential projects ranging from the remodel of a 350sf guest house to master planning and design for a 15-acre compound.
In 2001 they opened their office on Orcas Island and refocused their practice on work in the San Juan Islands. Their collaboration extends outside the office to include raising their three children.
Originally from Seattle, Susan graduated from Whitman College in 1984 with a degree in Psychology. She received her Master of Architecture degree from UC Berkeley in 1991 where she also taught Structural Principles to graduate and undergraduate students. She has spent time working in Sardinia and the People’s Republic of China.
Susan’s specialty is custom residential design and construction. In her twenty-plus years of experience she has been responsible for projects on both coasts, ranging from kitchen remodels to multi-million dollar residential compounds.
Susan sits on the Board of the Orcas Island Education Foundation. She formed Stoltz Kau Architects on Orcas Island with David Kau in 2001.
David was raised in Providence, Rhode Island and was educated at Harvard College where he graduated summa cum laude in 1985, and at the University of California at Berkeley for a Masters of Architecture in 1989.
He has worked in Taiwan, Holland, and Spain, and has studied abroad as a Travelling Fellow with Harvard (1985-86) and with Berkeley (1989-90). He has taught both undergraduate and graduate coursework at UC Berkeley and has served as a guest critic at UC Berkeley, CCAC/SF, and the University of Washington.
David spent eleven years at Fernau and Hartman Architects, becoming a Principal in 2000. Projects completed as a Project Architect range in size from a 8,000sf residential compound to 120,000sf corporate interiors. David serves on the Architecture Review committee for OPAL Community Land Trust.