While Olsen was better known for his residential design work, he also had several commissions for commercial, religious, and educational projects. The following projects reflect those types of projects that were fully realized. Although a large number of non-residential projects remain unbuilt, the body of his conceptual work shows the rationality of his planning approach was translatable into larger, more ambitious schemes. In the late 1950s, Olsen served as an architectural consultant for Herman Ruth, who was the West Coast representative of the Metropolitan Corporation of America, a developer and planner. Olsen typically designed the site plans and developed the perspectives for these projects.
Davis Manor Shopping Center
Davis, CA, 1955-1957
The Davis Manor Shopping Center is just one of a handful of commercial projects that were actually built. Originally, Olsen designed the main front-facing North wall with an all-glass facade, but due to cost, that idea was scrapped for a much more economical plan.