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Interview with Bassetti Architects

If you found yourself in South Lake Union at the Seattle Design Festival Block Party this past August, you may have heard the band (solely composed of AEC professionals) strike up some tunes or the happy screams of kids enjoying the late summer day at the splash pad. Anchored between the two was Bassetti Architects‘ thoughtful installation entitled Common Threads. Mirroring the festival’s theme of Connection, visitors carefully wove their yarn around custom, and outward-facing pegs were constructed to simultaneously draw participants in while allowing room for personal space and introspection.

During a time when distance is more palpable than ever, and the landscapes around us are ever-evolving, Bassetti is excited about where the firm has been and where they are headed.

Question (Q): Tell us a bit about a project or a milestone from the past year that you are most proud of.
Bassetti Architects (BA): It’s been a busy year for the firm. Aside from a full roster of architecture and design projects, including award-winning Highline High School‘s completion, groundbreaking on the notable Rainier Beach High School and Van Asselt School, and the ongoing excitement around Benson Polytechnic High School’s construction, there’s been a lot to celebrate. Earlier this year, the firm commemorated its 75th anniversary with an event hosted at the Museum of Flight. Bassetti’s Portland office joined the rest of the firm, clients, family, and friends, for an evening of history and commemoration.

A dual celebration, the evening was also dedicated to Bassetti’s long-time Principal and well-known Seattle-based architect, Lorne McConachie’s retirement. Emphasizing his critical influence on the regional design community, many stories and cherished “Lorne-isms” were shared throughout the evening.

McConachie’s influence on Pacific Northwest educational architecture design reform and programming is far-reaching. His career, spanning four decades, has been punctuated by iconic projects like Edmonds-Woodway High School in Edmonds, WA, and Todd Beamer High School in Federal Way, WA. A bevy of awards followed the projects he participated in; mostly notably, Edmonds-Woodway High School received the James D. MacConnell Award and, recently, the AIA Civil Design Award for Highline High School. While the firm misses Lorne’s day-to-day presence, he still pops into the office for design critiques or to support the firm’s research on Trauma Informed Design, which he spearheaded. The firm wishes him a long and fulfilling retirement. In his own words, “onward into the fog!”

Q: How should community influence design?
BA: Since 1947, Bassetti Architects has designed places where people learn, work, play, and connect. Believing that architecture is most successful when it reflects client goals and thoughtfully interacts with its surroundings, the firm’s mission is to foster healthy communities through learning and design.

While reflecting on the past 75 years of celebrated Bassetti Architects projects, none of it would have been possible without the talented team of architects, interior designers, graphic designers, planners, and office support team. The firm approaches projects in a way to share creative synergy and join with clients and the community in a truly inclusive process with a commitment to excellence. After 75 years of working on iconic historic, educational, and civic projects in the Pacific Northwest, Bassetti Architects is eager to take on the next 75 years of projects to create a built environment where everyone can find a sense of place and belonging.