In Passing: Robert Hull

Robert Hull Architect AIBC FAIA, passed away on April 8, 2014 at the age of sixty eight.  Robert was a beloved colleague and founding partner at The Miller Hull Partnership.  Robert passed away from complications related to a stroke suffered while on sabbatical in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Hull, along with his long-standing business partner David Miller, led The Miller Hull Partnership to national prominence as a leader in the practice of Pacific Northwest regional design.

The two met while studying architecture at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, after which Hull served four years in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan, where he designed more than 100 sustainable schools. He began his design career in the New York office of Marcel Breuer which honed his modernist aesthetic, eventually joining his classmate at Rhone Iredale in Vancouver, B.C. before opening The Miller Hull Partnership in Seattle, in 1977.

During his 46 year career, Hull had a significant impact on the architecture of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, receiving numerous awards and honors. Among the most prominent, his design guidance contributed to the firm’s receiving the 2003 AIA National Firm Award for sustained design excellence. He and David Miller received the Washington State University Alumni Achievement Award in 2006 and jointly earned the AIA Seattle Medal of Honor in 2010.

Hull was regarded for his natural ability to grasp the essence of a project and translate it into an inspired physical manifestation of client values. His design approach was that of an artist with an amazing eye for composition. His buildings fit amazingly well in their setting—urban or rural—and were extremely comfortable to occupy, but most of all, they were beautiful. Along with numerous residences throughout the San Juan Islands, many notable regional design credits include The Open Window, Epiphany, Bertschi and Bush Schools in Seattle, Conibear Shellhouse at the University of Washington, Seattle Pacific University Science Building and University Center for Performing Arts, Discovery Park Visitors Center and the iconic Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center. In Oregon, his work includes the Tillamook Forest Center and Yaquina Interpretive Center on the Oregon Coast. He also led the design of numerous waterfront developments in San Diego, California including The Wharf and Pier 32 marinas.

Hull recently returned to Herat and Mazar e Sharif Afghanistan, where he was leading the design of both a health clinic and girl’s school respectively, in communities where he had served in the Peace Corps 40+ years ago.

Always generous and gracious with his knowledge and time, throughout the years Hull was an inspiration, mentor and role model to numerous design staff at Miller Hull, the architectural community, and students. Those who have benefited from the power of his inspirational work are legion. And among his many talents, he was gifted in the art of beautiful hand drawn design concepts.

At ease in the public forum, he was a respected and sought after speaker, and he participated in numerous regional and national design juries, including the national AIA Honor Awards. He is a former president of the Seattle Architecture Foundation.

Hull is survived by his wife and two sons.

A family funeral service was held in Cape Town, South Africa on Sunday, April 13, 2014. Details of a public celebration in Seattle of Robert Hull’s life in will be announced when confirmed.

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