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Architecture & Engineering

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November 29, 2018

Survey: Freiheit Architecture

Photo from Freiheit Architecture [enlarge]
Freiheit Architecture designed the 23-story Avalara Hawk Tower in Pioneer Square. The project has separate hotel and office towers with a shared atrium.

Specialty: Architectural and interior design services across a diverse range of commercial project types with an emphasis on retail, office, mixed-use and multifamily

Management: David Hills, president; Arthur Chang, executive vice president and director of design; Rick Grimes and Sherri Miller, principals

Founded: 1985

Headquarters: Bellevue

2017 revenues: $7.9 million

Projected 2018 revenues: $8.4 million

Projects: Avalara Hawk Tower, Seattle; Avid Townhomes, Bellevue; Chateau Retirement Community, Bothell

Freiheit President David Hills and Executive Vice President Arthur Chang shared what’s new with the firm and what to expect for 2019.

Q: Freiheit Architecture has had an eventful year with its name change (from Freiheit & Ho Architects) and move from Kirkland to Bellevue. Has anything else changed?

David Hills: Our name change marked our successful transition from our founding partners. Surprisingly, the biggest changes are being led by yet another generation moving into leadership, bringing exciting new means and methods of design to the firm while remaining committed to our core belief of pragmatism, which we are known for.

Q: What are a couple of concerns you have about the current market environment?

Hills: Like everyone else, we are nervous about the length of the current market cycle and the current escalating construction costs and project schedules. However, new project inquiries have only continued to increase for us and we feel our diverse practice puts us in a good position to weather any hiccups that may be ahead.

Q: Which of your services or market sectors are in highest demand?

Arthur Chang: There is still a strong demand for housing and urban mixed-use projects, but we are also seeing an uptick in adaptive reuse projects and the growing need for our master planning services.

Q: Which areas of your practice would you like to further grow?

Chang: Growth areas we would like to see include hospitality and retirement living. Although not specifically related to a particular market, we are also excited about mass timber as a construction type, and hope that the environment will soon be ready to bring some of these projects online in this region soon.

Q: What’s your boldest prediction for 2019?

Chang: We believe that Bellevue CBD and the Bel-Red corridor are poised for explosive growth and that there will be a slight shift from Seattle to the Eastside as livability issues drive new development across the lake. I think these projects are likely to have new complexities and typologies that will be unique to the Eastside.

Q: What’s something you’d like more people to know about the firm?

Chang: We are seen as local architects, but many people are surprised to learn that we are working in as many as 26 states, and that we have multiple projects underway on the West Coast.

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