Architect Robert Hull, a co-founder of the Miller Hull Partnership LLC, died April 7 from complications related to a stroke suffered while he was on sabbatical in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He was 69 years old.
At his death, Hull was involved in several projects, including a private residence in the San Juan Islands in Washington state; a wastewater treatment plant in Vancouver, B.C.; and a mixed-use development in the mountains of China. He was also leading the design of both a girls' school and a health clinic in Herat, Afghanistan, where he had served in the Peace Corps after he had graduated from college.
During his 46-year career, Hull had a significant impact on the architecture of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Along with numerous residences throughout the San Juan Islands, regional design credits include the Open Window, Epiphany, Bertschi and Bush Schools in Seattle, Conibear Shellhouse at the University of Washington, Seattle Pacific University Science Building and University Center for Performing Arts, Discovery Park Visitors Center and the Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center. In Oregon, his work includes the Tillamook Forest Center and Yaquina Interpretive Center on the Oregon Coast. He also led the design of waterfront developments in San Diego, including the Wharf and Pier 32 marinas.
"When you sat down for a design meeting with Bob, you had to be at the top of your game, whether you were an architect, an engineer or a landscape architect," says Craig Curtis, a Miller Hull partner who worked directly with Hull for 27 years. "But Bob challenged you in such a genuine and constructive way. It was a pleasure working with him."
Hull began his design career in the New York City office of Marcel Breuer. He and David Miller, whom he met while studying architecture at Washington State University, Pullman, formed the Seattle-based Miller Hull in 1977. The 66-person firm, which also has an office in San Diego, received the 2003 American Institute of Architects National Firm Award for "sustained design excellence."
Miller Hull has long been known for sustainable buildings. It is the architect for Bullitt Center, in Seattle, which was recently selected as the Editors' Choice among ENR's Top Projects of 2013. The year-old building is on deck to become the nation's first urban mid-rise speculative development to be certified under the International Living Future Institute's demanding sustainable-building rating system, called the Living Building Challenge.
"Bob possessed incredible talent, passion and compassion," says Jon D. Magnusson, a senior principal of structural engineer Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Seattle. "He will be missed by the design community and communities throughout the world."