Virtually from its founding, more than 30 years ago, the Miller Hull Partnership has set the standard for regional modernism in the Pacific Northwest. Beginning with the firm’s earliest work, founding principals David Miller, FAIA, and Robert Hull, FAIA, incorporated themes and materials native to the region with rigor and inventiveness. Their concern for the environment anticipated by decades the profession’s current interest in sustainability. Later joined by principals Norman H. Strong, FAIA, LEED AP, and Craig Curtis, FAIA, LEED AP, the firm has grown significantly in size and reach over the years, but without diluting the essential character of its work.
While successful Miller Hull projects have risen as far afield as Chicago, that character is deeply rooted in Seattle and its environs. A mix of single-family, multifamily, public, and commercial work, the firm’s portfolio reflects a deep understanding of the region’s history, climate, plant life, and quality of light. Drawing on the heritage of Seattle-based mid-century modernism, the firm’s buildings are distinguished by deft handling of natural and industrial materials, an intimate relationship of site and structure, and scrupulous attention to environmental impact. The principals’ extracurricular contributions—via teaching, association leadership, and mentoring—have made them elder statesmen in the architectural community, but their output has lost none of its power to surprise and delight.
What is the most gratifying aspect of residential practice?
Providing space that is made specifically in response to the unique nature of each client and site and seeing the positive impact it has on our clients’ lives.
What is the most frustrating aspect?
Being a marriage counselor on the side.
What is your mission statement or firm goal?
Spirited architecture through continual exploration.
What is the most indispensable tool in your office?
What software does your firm use?
Revit for every project, from single-family residences to a $400 million federal project for the GSA; SketchUp for quick 3D modeling; and AutoCAD with a laser cutter for physical models, which we build of every project.
Who is your ideal client?
A huge fan of modern architecture with an incredibly challenging site, a goal of net-zero energy, a realistic budget for design and construction, and a location near skiing or sea kayaking for those important site visits ...
What is your favorite building?
That’s impossible to say, but among those I’ve seen in the past year, the de Young Museum in San Francisco by Herzog and de Meuron or The Q in San Diego by Jonathan Segal are both great.
If you didn’t have the time to design your own house, who would you hire?
My partner Bob Hull. If that’s a conflict of interest, then probably Vincent James.