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March 24, 2023

Renowned Seattle architect Blaine Weber passes away

Photo from Weber Thompson
Weber (on the right) is pictured with friend and firm co-founder Scott Thompson. Thompson passed away in 2017.

Yesterday, Weber Thompson announced the sad and sudden passing of the firm's co-founder Blaine Weber. Weber had retired from Weber Thompson in March 2022, 35 years after founding the firm and mentoring a generation of its designers.

Blaine Weber co-founded Weber Thompson in 1987 with his lifelong friend Scott Thompson, who he met while they were both studying at the University of Hawaii, and a third partner, Jeff Hamlett.

Over the course of his career Weber was appointed by three consecutive governors to the Washington State Board of Architects, where he served for 12 years, and chaired the Ethics and Practice Committee of Seattle AIA.

In an email announcing Weber's passing, the firm said he founded the practice with “a determination to design high-rise towers and safeguard the architectural profession from a risk management standpoint.”

When not busy designing buildings, Weber could often be found indulging his passion for sailing.

“One of the reasons I got into architecture in the first place is that it's such a fascinating blend of art and science. When you can blend art and science and create exciting environments that inspire people or allow people to enjoy life a little more, that to me is a gift. It's a privilege for me to be in this profession,” Weber told the DJC in 2000.

Under Weber's guidance and leadership Weber Thompson soon became known for its work in the multifamily market and especially for its high-rise projects. Weber's first Seattle high-rise was the Cristalla condominium tower at 2033 Second Ave. His last was Holland Partners' The Ayer, which is under construction at 2010 Terry Ave.

Weber oversaw the design of over 30 high-rises during his career including the eye-catching Nexus building, and the multi-award-winning Fifteen Twenty One Second Avenue, a tower that he called home for over a decade.

Weber was passionate about higher density living as an important solution to limiting urban sprawl and would often write articles, including several for the DJC, and contribute to panel discussions on this topic and others.

Weber's work and words have been featured in the DJC throughout the course of his 30-plus-year career. Shorty before his retirement, the DJC's Sam Bennett sat down with Weber to discuss some of the skyline-defining moments of his career and his approach to the profession.“My primary focus has always been on arriving at great design through thoughtful exploration while searching for the right ‘parti,' or big idea, based on client vision, site, context and urban fabric,” Weber said.

He added that he was proud to be leaving the firm with a legacy of developing relationships with repeat clients and productive collaborations with general contractors.

“I am proud,” he said, “for having helped to create a firm with a great culture that is committed to integrity, great ideals, diversity, mentorship, and helping to save our planet from climate change with innovative projects that provide demonstrative payback for our clients.” Bennett's article ran on March 3, 2022.

Weber Thompson said Blaine will be remembered as “a leader, marketing guru, mover and shaker, prankster, amateur sailor, designer, mentor and friend.”

“Beyond his legacy as an architect, Blaine leaves behind a professional community he deeply cared about as well as a large close-knit family that was his pride and joy. He will be missed,” the firm wrote.

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