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April 9, 2014

Architect Robert Hull dead at age 68

  • Miller Hull Partner Craig Curtis said: “It is rare to see someone in this profession with as much raw talent as Bob possessed, yet be so grounded and humble."
  • Robert Hull, a founding partner of The Miller Hull Partnership, died from complications related to a stroke he suffered while on sabbatical in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, according to a statement from his firm. Hull was 68.

    (Editor's note: This story has been changed to say Hull was 68, not 69.)

    The firm said he had a significant impact on the architecture of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest over his 46-year career.


    Hull's work received numerous awards and honors, and the firm won the 2003 AIA National Firm Award for sustained design excellence.

    He and his longtime business partner David Miller received the Washington State University Alumni Achievement Award in 2006 and jointly earned the AIA Seattle Medal of Honor in 2010.

    The two men met while studying architecture at Washington State University in Pullman. After school, Hull served four years in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan, where he designed more than 100 sustainable schools.

    Hull began his design career in the New York office of Marcel Breuer, where his firm said he honed his modernist aesthetic. He eventually joined David Miller at Rhone Iredale in Vancouver, B.C., before they opened The Miller Hull Partnership in Seattle in 1977.

    In its statement, the firm said Hull had a “natural ability to grasp the essence of a project and translate it into an inspired physical manifestation of client values.” He drew his design concepts by hand.

    Hull designed houses in the San Juan Islands; schools including The Open Window, Epiphany, Bertschi and Bush in Seattle; Conibear Shellhouse at the University of Washington; the Science Building and the University Center for Performing Arts at Seattle Pacific University; Discovery Park Visitors Center; and Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center.

    His work in Oregon includes Tillamook Forest Center and Yaquina Interpretive Center.

    Hull led design of waterfront projects in San Diego, including The Wharf and Pier 32 marinas.

    He recently returned to Afghanistan to lead design of a girls' school and a health clinic.

    Hull was a speaker, and served on regional and national design juries — including for the national AIA Honor Awards — and had been president of the Seattle Architecture Foundation.

    The firm said he was a mentor and role model to the staff, as well as to the architectural community and students.

    Miller Hull Partner Craig Curtis said, “Bob served as a mentor not only to me personally, but for dozens of other architects — and I owe much of my success as a designer to him since joining the firm 27 years ago.

    “But more importantly, he served as a role model for how to live one's life,” Curtis said. “It is rare to see someone in this profession with as much raw talent as Bob possessed, yet be so grounded and humble. In a word, his greatest attribute was that he was ‘genuine' and that is reflected in his rich design legacy.”

    Hull is survived by his wife and two sons.

    A family funeral service will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, on April 13.

    There also will be a celebration in Seattle of Hull's life. Details will be announced when they are confirmed.