Architect William “Bill” Bain Jr., whose vision propelled both the skyline of Seattle and the growth of architecture firm NBBJ into a global urban design leader, died June 8 in that city at age 88.
Bain, a former U.S. Army reserve officer trained as a combat engineer, turned his fighting spirit into a 64-year design career at NBBJ, where he was a consulting partner until his death. It was co-founded in 1943 by his father William J. Bain.
The younger Bain was eager to raise the design profile of a firm known for technical innovation, he said in a 2018 profile when named ENR Northwest’s Legacy award winner. “We had buildings that didn’t leak, but they weren’t design winners,” Bain said. His work includes the 1981 restoration of Seattle’s historic Olympic Hotel and Pacific Place, the core of the city’s retail revitalization in 2000.
“It’s impossible to separate the work of the firm from the leadership of Bill Bain Jr.,” said an NBBJ statement.
NBBJ ranks at No. 91 on ENR’s Top 500 Design Firms list, with nearly $182 million in 2018 revenue, including about $29 million from outside the U.S. Bain earned the Medal of Honor from the Seattle chapter of the American Institute of Architects, its highest individual lifetime achievement award. He was a former chapter and state council president, former chairman of Seattle’s downtown business group and taught at U.S. universities and in Japan.
Grant D. Beck, president and CEO of $2-billion(C)-revenue contractor, design-builder and P3 firm Graham Group Ltd., died on June 5 of a heart attack at age 63, said the firm and an online obituary.
He was a 29-year veteran of the employee-owned firm, based in Calgary, Alberta, which has 1,200 staff in North America and specializes in major buildings, infrastructure and industrial construction.
Beck, in his positions since 2012, was set to retire on Jan. 1. Chief Operating Officer Andy Trewick, announced in April as successor, assumes the roles, the firm said.