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Bellevue is a city of rapid growth and diverse cultures. The global perspective of the pan-Pacific, Seattle suburb has fostered an appreciation for Contemporary and Modern architecture. From commercial to public to residential spaces, Bellevue’s appreciation for a spectrum of styles is evident. The city has a high number of talented architects and designers that understand the Pacific Northwest’s distinctive culture, lifestyle, and environment. Unique, personalized projects flourish here thanks to the talented Pacific Northwest architects that call the city home.
Our team looked at dozens of Bellevue firms. Our team considered awards and accolades, the capacity to work in the city, and the overall work history of each firm. The result is this curated list of Bellevue’s best architects and designers.
This list includes both licensed architects and residential designers who can both design stunning homes but differ in other services offered. Architects are trained in design, engineering, and project management and have passed a licensing exam. Residential designers typically don’t manage projects and plans will need to be approved by a structural engineer. Whether you choose to hire an architect or a residential designer will depend on your project needs and complexity.
135 7th Ave West, Kirkland, WA 98033
Since its inception in 1985, 4D Architects has been producing award-winning designs over numerous states across the U.S., Canada, and Japan. 4D was hailed by 425 Magazine as the People’s Choice Best Architect in 2009 and 2010 and has received several other awards from other institutions. The duo of Barbara Pickens and Ben Mulder takes charge of the day-to-day operations of 4D. Pickens and Mulder are personally involved in every project and prefer to keep the firm small for the sake of quality control.
4D has a knack for building in environmentally critical areas and on challenging building sites. The firm’s tailor-made services enable each project to fit the needs of homeowners. They also offer 3D modeling as part of their design process. Pictured is a 5,300 square-foot home that features a master suite, four bedrooms, and four baths distributed over three stories.
10801 Main St., Suite #110 Bellevue, WA 98004
Baylis Architects has been an architectural institution for over four decades. Designing homes, commercial buildings, and public spaces, Baylis operates across most of the Pacific coast. The firm has been decorated with a number of local distinctions and awards. Baylis has been named Best of 425 Architect by 425 Magazine four times from 2014 to 2019 and they have earned multiple project-based awards, including the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Excellence in Construction in 2019.
The firm’s award-winning portfolio is characterized by diverse home styles, ranging from modern and contemporary homes to Bungalow and French styles, demonstrating the firm’s varied taste and fluency. Baylis’s modern and contemporary selection showcase strong, decisive compositions that render their projects sophisticated and functional. The home featured in the photo demonstrates Baylis’s use of large windows and terraces to create elegance.
2000 116TH Ave., NE Suite #4, Bellevue, WA 98004
Jose Bazán founded his namesake firm Bazán Architects in 1988, banking on over 25 years of industry experience. The firm has cultivated a strong tradition of design that caters to the multicultural communities of the Pacific Northwest. Bazán is straightforward when it comes to the goal set in each project — complete every design under budget, providing homeowners more options on where to allocate project funds. A small team of architects and project managers comprises the Bazán team. The firm is headed by founder and principal Jose Bazán, a registered architect in Washington and Hawaii and a Master of Architecture alumnus of the University of Washington.
Bazán’s portfolio packs multiple contemporary and traditional Pacific Northwest home styles that testify to the firm’s varying skill-set in designing homes. The firm creates homes based on the context of its building site and location, the hallmarks of insightful architecture.
27 100th Ave., NE Suite #100, Bellevue, WA 98004
With a small team of seasoned architects, Chesmore/Buck Architecture designs homes and commercial spaces in the Pacific Northwest. Founded in 1993 by Rick Chesmore and Dave Buck, the firm understands the sensitivity of Bellevue and the surrounding area. The firm has a particular talent for blurring the line between indoor and outdoor spaces and an affinity for unconventional building sites. The team’s design process considers the form and function of each project and how it stands on unique sites.
The home featured in the photo is a 3,200 square-foot wooden house in Lake Whatcom. The heavily wooded topography of the site is the primary challenge in the residential design. Chesmore/Buck rose to the occasion and designed this gorgeous home that maximizes the lush green environment. The home features a viewing “bird’s nest” with a 360-degree panoramic view of the picturesque scenery.
2226 3RD Ave., Seattle, WA 98121
Seattle-based Cone Architecture is a firm established by architects Tim Carter and Greg Squires along with co-principal Jamie Yengel. Carter is a licensed architect in Washington and Hawaii. He acquired his Master’s Degree in Architecture at the University of Washington after earning a degree in History at the University of South California. Squires, another University of Washington Master’s in Architecture alumnus, began his career inspired by prominent builder Steve Badanes. He founded several design and construction firms prior to linking with Tim Carter. University of Buffalo Master’s of Architecture alumnus Jamie Yengel has a knack for land-use analysis and project feasibility.
Homes designed by Cone Architecture are characterized by simple and graceful design elements. Projects such as this 8,400 square-foot sport an eclectic design and a consideration for practicality. Cone used the moderate slope away from the street as an advantage and made it a part of the design. The home features a suite for the grandparents and multiple common spaces to maximize family interaction.
5840 Airport Way S, Suite #216, Seattle, WA 98108
First Lamp is an architecture firm based in Seattle but operates across the Pacific Northwest. With features in periodicals like Pacific Northwest Homes, Seattle Magazine, Gray, and Arch Daily, the firm has made a name for itself in the local architectural scene. Kevin Witt and Taylor Callaway serve as company principals. Witt is a fifth-generation builder, growing up from a family of draftsmen, tradesmen, and carpenters. He earned his Master’s Degree in Italy and worked over 80 homes across Colorado, Texas, and Washington. Callaway studied Architecture in Italy and earned his Master’s from Texas Tech University. Witt and Callaways’ leadership resulted in the development of projects that have earned multiple distinctions, including the AIA Home of the Month.
The firm’s portfolio is filled with work that is simultaneously visually striking and utilitarian. First Lamp often uses high-level timberwork in their projects to match the stunning views of the Evergreen State.
Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl Architecture
3025 112th Ave., NE Suite #110, Bellevue, WA 98004
Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl Architecture is a multi-award winning firm that holds a reverence for the deep traditions of craftsmanship and artistry in architecture. Founded in 1983, the firm runs its business under the philosophy of ‘the art of architecture,’ an acknowledgment of the fact that architecture is a form of art: it must be treated with the utmost respect in terms of both design forms and client service. Not surprisingly, homes designed by Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl are elegant and grandiose.
From English cottages to Contemporary pavilions to Tuscan villas, the firm has designed outstanding homes that attest to the mantra of ‘the art of architecture.’
1301 First Ave., Suite #301, Seattle, Washington 98101
GGLO is a full-service architecture firm that uses design in the pursuit of a greener, more interactive community. In over 30 years, GGLO has amassed over 70 design awards and designed over three million gross square feet of LEED-certified space. GGLO has a holistic approach characterized by planning, architecture, interior design, and landscape. This approach has catapulted GGLO to the heights where it is today and awards such as the WASLA Professional Award and Golden Nugget Award.
James Bradley serves as a managing principal of the firm, using his in-depth knowledge and lengthy experience in various kinds of developments. Along with Bradley comes 13 more key personnel: each one handles specific projects from campus environments to affordable housing. The GGLO team has backgrounds in diverse design industries from single-family homes to green architecture, making a strong case for the firm’s architectural capacity.
100 NE Northlake Way, Suite #200 Seattle, WA 98105
In 1991, the former chair of the City of Seattle Design Commission and AIA Seattle president Mary Johnston founded Johnston Architects alongside her husband, Ray Johnston. Since then, Johnston Architects has become an award-winning design firm that continues to foster local communities through responsive design. Johnston prides itself on an office that values social justice and equality. The Johnston team includes a number of talented architects coming from various backgrounds: an alumnus of Tsinghua University in Beijing, an Interior Architecture and Design alumnus of ICS College of Arts in Tokyo, an Apparel Product Development alumnus from the University of Idaho, and an English and Religious Studies alumnus as well.
Johnston has an in-depth background in all sorts of development, from single-family homes to commercial spaces to schools. When it comes to single-family homes, Johnston translates the energy of the homeowners into the physical space she builds. The featured project, dubbed Base Camp, mirrors the owner’s youthful optimism and love of family. A sense of adventure blends seamlessly with the calculated structure: the well-designed home assures that this inclusive family of seven has a balanced lifestyle.
Lane Williams Architects
2420 8th Ave., W Seattle, WA, 98119
With over 100 homes and over 20 awards accumulated over the span of three decades, Lane Williams Architects has cemented its name among Pacific Northwest’s best architects. The firm has gathered prestigious industry awards, including three Seattle Times/AIA Home of the Year Awards and nine nominations. Lane Williams, an alumnus of the University of Washington, is a proponent of the ‘architecture of living’ philosophy, which highlights Northern lifestyles. His firm is not a stranger to high-stakes projects, including various renovations and updates to mid-century homes designed by prominent architecture figures such as Al Bumgardner, Paul Hayden Kirk, Ibsen Nelson, and Roland Terry.
The firm repeatedly designs projects with intricate detailing requiring progressive materials. This home in Clyde Hill incorporated the foundation and basement walls of the original structure, with a resulting design that is seamless.
11711 SE 8th St., Suite #100, Bellevue, WA 98005
Medici Architects, established by Emily Dovey Buchwalter in 1989, is a full-service architecture and planning design studio that offers a full range of architectural design options. Medici offers feasibility studies, site surveys, site planning, building permit submittals, and construction administration design services along with the usual architectural design and speculative home design services.
Emily Dovey Buchwalter, Schuyler Tutt, and Jennifer Kim serve as principals of the Medici team. The three all earned a Master’s Degree in Architecture: from Syracuse University, University of Nebraska, and University of Washington respectively. Through their leadership, the firm designed a number of award-winning projects like the 2015 Gold Nugget Award for Best Single Family Detached Home.
159 Jackson St., Suite #600, Seattle, WA 98104
One of the prominent names in the American architectural scene, Olson Kundig is a Seattle-based global design firm providing integrated architecture, exhibit design, interior design, urban design and landscape architecture for clients around the world. Olson Kundig has earned hundreds of regional, national and international awards, including a 2018 AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten Award and the 2009 AIA Architecture Firm Award. The firm is led by five owners – Jim Olson, Tom Kundig, Kirsten R. Murray, Alan Maskin and Kevin M. Kudo-King – who are supported by a staff of over 190 in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square neighborhood.
© Dwight Eschliman
Well-known for their residential work, Olson Kundig has designed homes across the nation and around the world. Notable projects include The Pierre, a private home in the San Juan Islands that nestles into its rocky site, incorporating the natural textures of an existing stone outcropping throughout the interior of the home. The Pierre has been profiled in many outlets, including Architectural Digest, Dezeen, and The New York Times.
2333 3rd Ave.,Seattle, WA 98121
Since its inception in 1999, SkB Architects has been an architecture firm that takes a 360-degree, people-first approach. Shannon Gaffney, Kyle Gaffney, Brian Collins-Friedrichs, and Steve Olson led the 40-person team of architects in designing projects that garnered prestigious awards such as the International Design Awards’ Gold Award for a residential project. The firm’s work has also gained recognition from publications including Design Milk, Dwell, Dezeen, Seattle Magazine, and Architizer.
Browsing SkB’s portfolio is a treat. SkB has designed projects for offices, restaurants, commercial spaces, and residences across the nation. The firm has developed homes in a variety of designs, often providing their own rendition of conventional architectural styles. Farmhouse, cabin, and barn- style homes have all been given modern, personalized configurations by SkB. Contemporary and Modern homes also share this tailor-made attitude as you can see in the home featured here.
5285 Erskine Way, SW Seattle, WA 98136
Steve Svetlik is a Pacific Northwest architect with over 27 years of industry experience, having worked with distinguished architecture firms in Dallas, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Svetlik is a licensed architect in California and Washington, and an alumnus of Texas A&M University. His experience covers multiple projects in multiple sectors, but he maintains a strong focus on residential buildings.
Projects including this Contemporary beachfront home prove Steve Svetlik’s efforts and sensibility. This zen-inspired home is tastefully curated and designed to maximize its enviable location. As featured in TRENDS Magazine, the home keeps nature at its core through the use of large stones, indoor plants, and natural finishings.
1938 Fairview Ave. East, Suite #100, Seattle, WA 98102
Seasoned designer Chad Lorentz established Urbal Architecture as an extension of his more than 15 years of career as an industry professional. Lorentz is fascinated by regional architecture, and he has quite a bit of experience in single-family, multifamily, and senior housing in both the US and in China. He captains a talented team of designers and project managers in making award-winning home projects. Urbal has been lauded by multiple awards from the National Association of Homebuilders and NAIOP, and the firm is a recipient of the Gold Nugget Award of Merit as well.
Among the firm’s collection of interesting projects is Treescape, a 2,700 square-foot mid-century home built by a Scandinavian carpenter for his family in the 1950s. When the property was sold after 50 years of ownership, Urbal gave the home a much-needed update. What makes these renovations even more impressive: the home stands atop a 70-foot ravine.
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