How Placemaking Honors People, Culture, and Local Identity

When we approach our projects, we consider culture, history, climate, geography, topography, and the variety of ways people will experience these spaces once they are complete. Our project for the Port of Friday Harbor, Spring Street Landing is a wonderful example of how building design adapts to place, rather than the other way around. The…

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Happy New Year from RMC! Featured Image

Happy New Year from RMC!

Wishing you limitless joy in 2022. Thanks to our clients, colleagues, and friends who make every year spectacular. 34 Completed projects 56 New projects 13 New clients 43 Repeat client projects 2 Promotions 16 Grateful staff

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RMC Architects Swept the 2021 AIA Northwest Washington Honor Awards! Featured Image

RMC Architects Swept the 2021 AIA Northwest Washington Honor Awards!

The AIA NWW Design Awards acknowledge “the finest standards in sustainability, innovation, inclusion, building performance, and overall integration with client and surrounding community.” Two of our projects were recognized for excellence in architecture and planning: Spring Street Landing at the Port of Friday Harbor and the Housing Authority of Skagit County’s Seasonal Farmworker Housing. Congratulations…

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There’s New Talent at RMC! Featured Image

There’s New Talent at RMC!

David Judge AIA has joined RMC Architects as a Project Architect. Judge received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture in 2010 from A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. He received a Master of Architecture in 2018 from the College of Built Environments, University of Washington, specializing in…

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Ushering in New Leadership

Christopher Mead AIA, LEED AP to Associate. Since joining RMC in 2005, Chris has distinguished himself as an approachable and trusted project leader and mentor. He has worked on a variety of project types for the firm, including the recently completed Multicultural Center at Western Washington University (WWU) – a collaborative project with Opsis Architecture.…

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Reimagining the Parberry Properties

Old Town Although adjunct to downtown Bellingham, Old Town has always had its own identity. Historical buildings, industrial lineage, and the natural setting between land and water give it a diamond in the rough sensibility that provides myriad opportunities for developing the Parberry site—a seven-acre brownfield zoned for commercial, light industrial, and residential. Thriving businesses…

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All  signs point toward people first at Samish Commons Featured Image

All signs point toward people first at Samish Commons

Earlier this week, Jeff McClure and Bellingham Housing Authority’s Brien Thane gave Bellingham City Council’s Planning & Community Development Committee an update on progress at Samish Commons, the $78 million redevelopment of the condemned Aloha motel on Samish Way that the city bought in 2015. Since then, Bellingham Housing Authority was selected to develop the…

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What’s Next? Featured Image

What’s Next?

In January, “breathe” was a reminder to pause for perspective. We were moving at breakneck pace, struggling to keep up and wondering how best to navigate through to 2021— all against the backdrop of what was sure to be an intense election year. In July, “breathe” is a reminder that people all around us are…

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Developing the Front Porch Factor Featured Image

Developing the Front Porch Factor

RMC Architects, in collaboration with social psychologist Dr. Kristi Lemm, Professor of Psychology at Western Washington University, is exploring how architecture and urban planning can strengthen social ties through our Front Porch Factor (FPF) initiative. We are developing a framework to help gauge and inform how projects can strengthen social cohesion — by creating spaces…

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Is it time for "gentle density?"

“What are you, nuts?” might be the first reaction to the idea of ending single-family zoning, but it shouldn’t be the last. Density, when it’s done well, can create popular, stable neighborhoods characterized by an array of mixed-income housing options, along with inviting pedestrian-oriented living, an enhanced sense of identity and belonging, and strong social…

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Bellingham’s only dedicated day space for unhoused youth

Last January during a bitter cold snap, we told you about the opening of The Ground Floor, the Northwest Youth Services (NWYS) day shelter located at First Congregational Church in Bellingham. The 3,500-square-foot space was an especially welcome and warm new space for unsheltered youth that chilly day. “It’s become a very relational and safe…

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RMC is growing!

Jesse Fawcett is recent architecture school graduate of Alfred State (New York) who brings excellent graphic skills and a keen desire to learn the profession. He found Bellingham by exploring the Pacific Northwest through frequent visits over the years. Bellingham really clicked for me as the perfect place to start my next chapter. I came…

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What makes a great urban outdoor space?

What makes a great outdoor space depends, of course, on its purpose and context. Most broadly, an outdoor space at home often emphasizes privacy, whereas public outdoor spaces focus on fostering interaction, often with smaller retreat areas. Western Washington University’s Red Square is an example of a public outdoor space that serves as a “mixer”…

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Coming Soon to a Port Near You Featured Image

Coming Soon to a Port Near You

We’ll admit to some misty feelings about ports, especially when it comes to the waterfront. It’s something about the travel and trade that ports represent — the far-flung locations reached by slow boats, the fishing and the ferries, the cool marine air and the tidy red and white Coast Guard buildings … It all adds…

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Samish Way Redevelopment Design Unveiled Featured Image

Samish Way Redevelopment Design Unveiled

We swear these people are not audience plants. But we sure like what they said, especially since they represented the general mood of the York and Sehome neighborhood meeting Wednesday evening this week where Bellingham-Whatcom Housing Authority and RMC unveiled the design of Phase 1 of the Samish Way Redevelopment project. Better known as the…

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Winner! Featured Image


RMC was chosen as a 2018 Sustainability Champion by local nonprofit Sustainable Connections as one of the pioneers in our local economy that have done outstanding work to make Whatcom one of the best places to live, work, and play. Read more about why Sustainable Connections chose us, here!  

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Youth Day Shelter Opens Amid Cold Snap Featured Image

Youth Day Shelter Opens Amid Cold Snap

From church basement to full-service day shelter for youth, the transformation of The Ground Floor at First Congregational is complete. While winter weather foiled the Saturday evening public appearance of keynote speaker Ryan Berg, a New York City youth worker and author of No House to Call my Home, a ribbon cutting commenced on Sunday…

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Season's greetings friends!

We know neither rain nor sleet nor lack of parking will stop you from coming downtown this festive season. How could it? Not with all there is to do and enjoy, whether you’re here for a Charlie Brown Christmas at BAAY or magic at the Mt. Baker Theatre; shopping local (maybe at Ormalulu, the Bellingham…

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Housing Week, Lexie and more Featured Image

Housing Week, Lexie and more

The second annual Housing Week concluded last week, an event-filled four days that left us feeling optimistically realistic. But before we get to that, please join us in congratulating Lexie Costic, AIA, who became a licensed architect in Washington state earlier this year; now 70 percent of RMC’s design professionals are registered architects. Lexie joined RMC…

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Restoring the heart of Bellingham Featured Image

Restoring the heart of Bellingham

Are you as excited as we are about the possibility of transforming the old JCPenney building on Cornwall—which has sat more or less empty since 1988 —  into a mix of stores, offices and apartments that will bring new activity and life to this key block? After a public hearing September 24, the council is…

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Breaking new ground Featured Image

Breaking new ground

Habitat for Humanity and The Kulshan Community Land Trust broke ground in more ways than one last month when they began Phase 1 of their collaborative effort to bring 54 permanently affordable townhomes to Bellingham. Telegraph Townhomes marks the launch of the Threshold Fund, an innovative financing tool that reduces the cost of building affordable…

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March 2018 Project and People News Featured Image

March 2018 Project and People News

If you’ve driven down State Street recently and wondered what the construction project across from the Herald Building is all about, wonder no more: 22 North will offer 40 studio apartments to adults experiencing homelessness, thanks to of a collaboration between Northwest Youth Services (NWYS) and Opportunity Council. As our community continues to grapple with…

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Makers Make Community Featured Image

Makers Make Community

RMC recently finished work on the expansion of Social Fabric, which is living up to its brilliant name with an engaging mashup of sewing groups and classes, textile art, shopping and creative window displays to a key downtown corner. Located on Commercial Street in the Parkade building, it’s just one of several Bellingham venues designed…

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We’re thinking a lot about unity these days. Featured Image

We’re thinking a lot about unity these days.

Enter Unity Care Northwest. Part of a national network of community health centers established in 1965 with bipartisan support, it has provided healthcare to anyone in Whatcom County who needs it, regardless of income or insurance, for more than 30 years. Since 2008, its patient population has increased by 74%. Last year, amid the uncertainty…

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Friday Afternoon Design Challenge Featured Image

Friday Afternoon Design Challenge

Friday afternoon design challenge: Make you vanish. Banish the ugly, tame the tangle! Show the world what’s possible, architects; do that problem-solving thing! Judges focus, scrutinize, discerning daring acts of innovation and technical perfection. Attention to detail counts. Zip ties allowed. Extra points for overcoming adverse conditions. Everyone gets a ribbon for participating, just like soccer.…

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All our neighborhoods should reflect these characteristics Featured Image

All our neighborhoods should reflect these characteristics

The answer lies in the question itself: they’re neighborhoods, which by definition holds both spatial and social qualities. While physical boundaries define it on a map, we would argue that a neighborhood’s degree of social capital — its networks of relationships that foster “neighboring behavior”— is what makes it relatively stronger or weaker. (While this…

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When An Architecture Firm Has the Chance to Get Involved With a Property Designed By the Olmsted Brothers, That Firm Is Delighted, Honored — And Very, Very Careful. Featured Image

When An Architect Firm Has the Chance…

In 2014 RMC, along with environmental consulting firm Maul, Foster, Alongi, was engaged by the Port of Skagit County to analyze the campus of the Northern State Hospital in Sedro Woolley, WA for redevelopment. Built in the Cascade foothills starting in 1911 on more than 1,000 acres, the campus is one of the largest single…

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Building a 21st Century Campus Featured Image

Building a 21st Century Campus

Campus buildings come with tall orders: they must support teaching and inspire learning, attract faculty and invite students, meet or beat operational and sustainability goals, satisfy public budget constraints, gratify private donor desires. They must speak to the future, and stand the test of time. Meanwhile, technology marches on, instructional models evolve, and students educators…

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Plenty o’ (craft brew) Pubs. Featured Image

Plenty o’ (craft brew) Pubs.

And that’s not just our Irish talking.* It’s a fact that keeps cropping up in urban planning and economic develoment circles (may the ever intersect): craft breweries, and their pubs, are a key indicator of a successful city. We’re excited about the county’s newest kid on the beer block, Overflow Taps in Lynden. It’s one…

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Strong Communities Make Downtown Work Featured Image

Strong Communities Make Downtown Work

The Commercial Street Night Markets were fantastic. Thanks Sustainable Connections and KAPOW place-making competition (Principal Neil McCarthy was a juror.) Design improvement ideas for landscaping, wayfinding, Commercial St. Plaza and more thanks to the City and the Downtown Bellingham Partnership’s design committee (members include RMC’s Nicole Staron). Enticing holiday window displays coming your way thanks…

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