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January 18, 2018

Weber Thompson founder Scott Thompson dies at 66

Scott Thompson, a founder of Weber Thompson in Seattle, died on Dec. 12 after a long fight with cancer, the architecture firm said in a statement. He was 66.

Thompson retired in 2015 with over 35 years of architectural and planning experience, including two decades leading the firm's mid-rise residential team.

Blaine Weber and Thompson were surfing buddies during high school in Hawaii and studied architecture at the University of Hawaii. They crossed paths in Seattle and in 1988 started the architecture firm, initially with fellow architect Jeff Hamlett.


Kristen Scott was the first employee and became an owner of the firm, which has weathered stock market crashes, tech booms, dot-com busts, the Great Recession and the rise of Seattle's downtown and South Lake Union.

Thompson's residential projects were respected for reflecting and enhancing the character of their neighborhoods, the firm noted. Among them are Eden Hill on Queen Anne, The Eastlake Condos near the University Bridge, The Opal in the Central District and Sunset Electric on Capitol Hill.

He held a bachelor's degree in environmental design from the University of Washington.

Weber said Thompson was an early adopter and evangelist for high-performance, sustainable buildings, and under his leadership the firm won international awards in sustainable design and vertical farming.

Thompson and Scott launched Weber Thompson's commercial office design studio about 10 years ago.

As part of that studio, Thompson drove the design of Weber Thompson's LEED gold headquarters building, The Terry Thomas, in South Lake Union. Completed in 2008, it received international attention for its design and high- and low-tech sustainable strategies such as passive cooling, interior courtyard and daylighting. It won an award from the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment in 2009.

Among the other high-performance office projects Thompson worked on is DATA 1 in Fremont, which won the NAIOP Office Development of the Year in 2017.

He also designed planned-unit developments, hospitality projects, health clubs and custom single-family residences.

The architect was a member of the Housing Development Consortium, which is dedicated to affordable housing issues.

In partnership with Weber Thompson owners Jeff Reibman and Amanda Keating, Thompson initiated the firm's affordable housing studio about 10 years ago.

Weber said he recognized that hard working people, such as firefighters and medical professionals, were being pushed out of the city due to a lack of that type housing.

“That was a big cause for him,” said Weber.

Thompson was a member of the American Institute of Architects and involved in the ACE mentoring program, working with high-school students interested in architecture and engineering.

Weber Thompson has about 70 employees. It provides architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, urban design/planning and graphic design. Its portfolio includes high-rise, mid-rise, mixed-use, commercial, multifamily, hospitality, affordable housing and senior living projects.

In the statement, the firm described Thompson as a great, low-key mentor, good friend, Neil Young devotee, Kenny Rogers lookalike, and someone who made sure that everyone who worked for him had their contributions and worth acknowledged and celebrated before his own.

“Scott was a very patient, generous and giving person, and he was beloved by many,” said Weber.

He is survived by his wife Laura Kay Thompson, sons Taylor and Mitch, daughter Malia and sister Candace Thompson.