Bill Bain believes that each project, whatever its size and program, has a unique story expressed in its design. Strong visioning skills and an ability to listen to a client’s priorities and objectives allow Bill to translate those needs and requirements into responsive design. He is widely regarded as a leader in enhancing Seattle’s urban character and allowing it to be ‘owned’ by its citizens.
A graduate of Cornell University — where he studied under Phillip Johnson, Buckminster Fuller, Paul Rudolph and Aldo Giurgola — Bill won the university's York Prize and Charles Goodwin Sands Memorial Medal. After serving with the Army Corps of Engineers, he returned to Seattle and joined the nascent firm of NBBJ, which was cofounded by his father. As the firm's 47th employee, his primary focus was on the quality of design. Described by his colleagues as “the heart and soul of NBBJ,” Bill has led or designed many of NBBJ’s most acclaimed projects, and his impact can easily be seen in the quality of the firm’s projects and the number of design awards the firm has received.
Bill’s work covers a range of building types including the United States Pavilion at Expo ’74; Guam Judicial Center; Two Union Square; Cordiner Hall at Whitman College; the Design Disciplines Building and Physical Sciences Building at Washington State University; master planning and building design on the University of Washington South Campus and the Downtown Metropolitan Tract; seven separate projects for the Battelle Memorial Institute; Honolulu Municipal Office Building; demonstration housing in Saitama, Japan; Pacific Place, the centerpiece of downtown Seattle’s retail revitalization; Unigard Insurance Company Corporate Headquarters; Bagley Wright Theater; Paramount Theater restoration; Four Seasons Olympic Hotel restoration; and Market Place Tower, a mixed-use development.
Bill is a past president of both the Seattle Chapter and the Washington State Council of the American Institute of Architects. He has lectured or taught design at Cornell, NYU, Harvard, University of Washington, Washington State University, and the Technology Transfer Institute of Japan and has served on a number of AIA and other design award juries. Bill has also been president of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, chairman of the Downtown Seattle Association, and was recognized as a Most Distinguished Alumnus of the Lakeside School. He has received the AIA Seattle Chapter Medal, the highest honor the Chapter can bestow, and was recently presented with the Filley Award for Excellence by the honorary land-economics society Lambda Alpha International. He has also served for many years as an advisor to the College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell.