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November 16, 2023

Celebrated Seattle architect David Hewitt passes away

Photo via Hewitt
David McArthur Hewitt 1936 – 2023

David McArthur Hewitt, FAIA, passed away on Nov. 2, 2023. The celebrated architect was the founder of Hewitt architecture firm and in his lifetime had an indelible impact on Seattle as the creative force behind some of the city's most well-known and enduring buildings.

Hewitt saw out his days with his wife, Marcia, on Bainbridge Island. He was born in Portland in 1936. Hewitt joined the army after graduating high school and it was during this period of his life, whilst stationed abroad in Europe, that he decided to pursue a career in architecture.

On his return from the army, Hewitt began an architecture degree at the University of Washington. He graduated in 1964 as a top student in his class and was awarded the Excellence in Architecture medal.

He formed Hewitt Daly Architects in Seattle, with partner Jim Daly, in 1975. The firm became Hewitt Daly Isley, then Hewitt Isley and ultimately Hewitt. Hewitt stepped away from the practice in 2018, at the age of 80, following an ownership transition.

David McArthur Hewitt's work and impact can be seen throughout Seattle. Notable projects include the Harbor Steps Apartments, the Port of Seattle Headquarters at Pier 69, Bell Street Pier, as well as numerous multifamily and mixed-use projects across the city. Hewitt was particularly passionate about the importance of having a good transportation system in the region and also designed multiple Sound Transit Light Rail stations and bus facilities for Metro and Sound Transit.

Photo via Equity Residential [enlarge]
David Hewitt’s projects include the Harbor Steps Apartments, which were completed in 2000.

An active member of the city's arts and design community, Hewitt was president of the Seattle Chapter AIA, served as chair of the Seattle Design Commission, Allied Arts of Seattle and the Seattle Architectural Foundation, and was a board member for Act Theater (whose first theater he designed while still a student).

In 2005, Hewitt was honored by the American Institute of Architects Seattle board with the Seattle Medal. That honor recognizes lifetime achievement in architecture including design and professional practice, and service to the profession, the community, education, and the arts.

Hewitt was recognized by AIA Seattle for his “advocacy as one of the Gang of Five,” a group which in the early 1980s illuminated urban issues for the Seattle Weekly. At the time, AIA Seattle had this to say of Hewitt: “He has raised a quiet but insistent voice for design quality... All along the way, his broad perspective and quiet leadership have inspired his fellow professionals and public constituencies alike, and profoundly influenced both the form and the civic culture of the greater Seattle urban region.”

The Seattle architecture firm announced the passing of its founder in a social media post this week and honored Hewitt for his “fundamental impact on Seattle architecture and planning.”

This article was written using information from an online obituary published by Legacy Remembers from Nov. 11 to Nov. 16, 2023. The full obituary can be viewed at https://tinyurl.com/DavidHewittObit

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