Miller/Hull AIA Firm of the Year
The Seattle firm Miller/Hull Partnership has received the 2003 Architecture Firm Award from the American Institute of Architects. Announced in December, this award is given annually to a practice the AIA deems to have consistently produced distinguished architecture for at least 10 years.
Miller/Hull design work has been described as "regional modernism," characterized by natural themes, sharp lines, and classic boxy shapes. This "Northwest Style" is also expressed in exposed timber, large windows, and other materials inspired by the rugged landscape and evergreen colors of the region.
The design philosophy of the firm centers on two architectural emphases: using a building's structure to create a significant place within a site and responding to climate and environmental demands. Their approach produces projects that fit comfortably within their cultural and physical landscapes. Miller/Hull's attention to sustainable design ranges from the use of eco-friendly building materials to integration of stormwater and site drainage with landscaping.
In nominating the firm, AIA board member Bruce Blackmer, AIA, commented: "Their innovative approach has created a body of work of substance and authenticity without falling into stylistic trappings." Blackmer also noted that Miller/Hull has been committed to excellence in design and environmental responsibility since its inception. The firm has set precedents for architecture influenced by local climate, materials, and culture and has demonstrated the broader applicability of these ideas. Blackmer adds: "Miller/Hull has defined Pacific Northwest regional modernism in a way that inspires architects around the globe to respond to the unique characteristics of their own regions."
Miller/Hull's diverse client base includes national and local government agencies, academic institutions, private developers, corporations, and homeowners. Its work in the public realm includes Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center, The Point Roberts Port of Entry, and Bainbridge Island City Hall. Their residential work includes the suburban Roddy/Bale Residence in Bellevue, the urban 1310 East Union in Seattle, and the rural Novonty Cabin. In its 24 years, Miller/Hull Partnership has won 120 awards including two national AIA Honor Awards.
In contrast to, for instance, RIBA's award in 2002 of the Royal Gold Medal for the exuberant cartoons of Archigram, the AIA's recognition of Miller/Hull in 2003 seems like a positive example of professional recognition for a body of work comprising actual buildings, well and beautifully made.
December would also have been the time to announce the AIA Gold Medal for 2003, but the AIA board, lacking the needed three-fourths majority needed to elect a recipient, did not make that award this year. Gold Medalists are individuals whose significant body of work has had, in the AIA's opinion, a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. There have been 59 recipients since 1907.
The Maury Island Cabin, by The Miller/Hull Partnership opens to a small meadow through a large double set of tri-fold doors, converting the space to an outdoor room.
Photo: Art Grice
Miller/Hull designed the new 170,000-square-foot (15,800-square-meter) Patagonia Distribution Center and Office Facility in Reno, Nevada.
Photo: David Wakely Photography
A diagram showing how ventilation will supplant part of the cooling load in the green office design by the Miller/Hull Partnership.
Image: Miller/Hull Partnership
In award-winning housing by the Miller/Hull Partnership, glass and aluminum-frame garage doors roll up, converting living and dining spaces into exterior balconies.
Photo: James F. Housel
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