BLRB's Nick Radon Joins Accessibility Committee

Congratulations to Nick Radon, AIA (Bend) on his recent appointment to the City of Bend’s Accessibility Advisory Committee (COBAAC). Nick will join the committee immediately as an at-large member and will transition to a permanent, three-year term position in April 2020.

Comprised of 9-12 citizen volunteers, many of whom are individuals with disabilities, the COBAAC assists and advises the City regarding efficient and responsible means of making municipal programs, services, activities and facilities accessible to all residents and visitors.

“I feel that everyone, regardless of physical and mental abilities, deserves equal access throughout our communities,” said Nick. “Being an architect, accessibility is an intrinsic component of our industry’s on-going education and training and I’m excited to be able to share my knowledge and experience with this group.”

Three Architects Earn National Design-Build Certification

Ron Harpel, Kai Bierig and Marco Urieta-Leon of BLRB Architects have successfully completed the Design-Build Institute of America’s comprehensive education, training and certification testing program to achieve the design-build industry’s designation as a nationally certified Associate Design-Build Professional.™

DBIA Certification is the nation’s only measurable standard of an individual’s knowledge of the Design-Build Done Right™ principles vital to successful project delivery. By completing these requirements, which touch on all aspects of design-build, candidates earn the right to display “Assoc. DBIA” after their names, identifying them to design-build end-users and the industry at large as experienced design and construction professionals with a firm understanding of design-build project delivery.

Three to six years substantial design and construction experience is an additional prerequisite for Designated Associate Design-Build Professional™ certification. Maintaining the credential requires a minimum of 24 hours of continuing education credit every two years.

Bend Office Moves to New Location

Though we continue to work remotely, our Bend office has moved to a new location at Crane Shed Commons. Located at 721 SW Industrial Way, Suite 130 in Bend, our new office space offers a larger, more modern facility adjacent to the Deschutes River. Our Bend office phone number remains the same -- (541) 330-6506. 

For Bend project inquiries, please reach out to our Bend office principal, Seth Anderson.

2020 Staff Promotions at BLRB Architects

BLRB Architects is pleased to announce staff promotions for 2020. 

Jonah Jensen (Portland) was promoted to principal. He has been with BLRB since 2006 and relocated to the Portland office in 2018. Jonah is licensed in Oregon and Washington and is a LEED Accredited Professional and member of several professional associations including A4LE. He has a professional passion for historic architecture and served as a member of the Tacoma Landmarks Commission while working in the Tacoma office. Jonah’s current projects include the Kalama School District’s 2018 capital bond projects, and multiple projects for the Woodburn School District.

Sarah Fisher (Tacoma) was promoted to associate. She joined BLRB in 2019, bringing with her more than 15 years of professional experience as a project manager and architect. Sarah is licensed in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, and is NCARB certified and a LEED Accredited Professional. Sarah’s current projects include the modernization of Sumner High School.

Ari Lewkowitz (Tacoma) who celebrates four years with BLRB this month, was also promoted to associate. Ari achieved his Master of Architecture degree from the University of Washington in 2015 and has worked on a diverse range of projects in the U.S. and elsewhere. He’s currently working as part of the design team serving the Astoria School District’s capital bond projects.

Nick Radon (Bend) was promoted to associate, having joined BLRB in 2018. Nick has nearly 20 years of professional experience as a project manager and architect. He is licensed in Oregon and is a USGBC LEED Green Associate. Nick is currently working on 210 Century, a mixed use commercial project in Bend.

Heidi Slaybaugh Nominated for Women of Year Award

Congratulations to senior associate, Heidi Slaybaugh, AIA (Bend) on her nomination to the Bend Chamber of Commerce’s “Women of the Year” awards. Now in its sixth year, the event recognizes the professional accomplishments and community contributions of outstanding women in the Bend community. Category winners will be announced in an award ceremony on February 29, 2020 at the Eagle Mountain Event Center in Bend.

Two BLRB Projects Receive AS&U Awards

American School and University Magazine honored two BLRB projects with awards in the latest edition of the AS&U Architectural Portfolio. Wilburton Elementary School (Bellevue WA) received a Special Citation Award and Harrison Elementary School (Cottage Grove OR) received an Outstanding Design Award. 

Three BLRB Projects Win National Awards

We're happy to announce that three BLRB Architects projects were recognized by Learning By Design Magazine in their 2019 Awards of Excellence! 

Grand Prize Winner (Early Childhood/Elementary School - New) - Wilburton Elementary School (Bellevue School District) Featured on magazine cover
Citation of Excellence (Early Childhood/Elementary School - New) - Harrison Elementary School (South Lane School District)
Outstanding Project (Early Childhood/Elementary School - Renovation) - Loyal Heights Elementary School (Seattle Public Schools)

BLRB Architects Acquires Ascent Architecture and Interiors

In a move that will enhance the range and depth of architectural resources available to Central and Eastern Oregon clients, BLRB Architects announced today that it has acquired Ascent Architecture and Interiors of Bend, Oregon.

Ascent, helmed by owner and principal, Seth Anderson, AIA, has served private and public clients in Bend and Central Oregon since 2014. Named 2018 Architecture Firm of the Year by the Central Oregon Builders Association, Ascent has completed several visible and award-winning commercial, housing and hospitality projects including Bethlehem Inn Homeless Shelter, Worthy Brewing Expansion and Observatory, Madras Vision Source and Lake Place mixed-use.

Specializing in architecture for public use, with a focus on educational and civic facilities, BLRB is a regional firm with a significant portfolio of housing, hospitality and commercial projects in Bend and the 

surrounding region. Ascent’s focus on commercial, medical, hospitality and senior housing projects represented a natural complement to BLRB’s vision for its practice in Central Oregon. The firm opened its Bend office in 2011 and employs a local team of 12 with 80 team members firm-wide.

The acquisition of Ascent will expand local staffing to 27, and significantly increase the professional resources and service capacity available to clients of both firms. Anderson will serve as principal of BLRB’s Bend office. Employees of both firms will remain in their current offices for the short term and integrate into new office space this Fall.

“Joining BLRB represents an amazing opportunity for the Ascent team,” said Anderson. “Our team will have access to a very deep well of specialized expertise and technology resources. We’re also excited to have an expanded team of colleagues, both regionally and locally, with whom to create and collaborate.”  

“Seth and I worked together years ago and we knew that we had shared values and a similar outlook on design, service, workplace practices and organizational growth,” said BLRB’s managing principal, Greg McCracken, AIA. “I respect and admire Seth’s work and what he and the team at Ascent have accomplished, so as this idea evolved between us over the last year, it seemed like a natural fit for both firms.”

Founded in 1953, BLRB Architects is a full-service architecture firm specializing in planning and design for educational and other public use facilities. The firm’s local projects in process include the new North Star Elementary School that will open September 2019; the phased reconstruction of Pilot Butte Middle School and 210 Century, a multi-story mixed use commercial/residential project opening Spring 2020. BLRB served projects totaling more than $750,000,000 in aggregate construction value throughout Oregon and Washington in 2018. 

Frequently Asked Questions - Ascent Acquisition

WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH ASCENT AND BLRB? BLRB Architects has acquired Ascent Architecture and Interiors in a move that expands existing capabilities, resources and market reach. All Ascent employees will become employees of BLRB Architects and, Ascent owner, Seth Anderson, will serve as principal of the combined Bend office.

WHAT WAS THE MOTIVATION FOR THIS MOVE? Leadership of both firms recognized a strategic opportunity to expand specialized service offerings, refine project processes, diversify their portfolio and gain a competitive advantage. Existing synergies between values, culture and vision were intentionally considered and underpinned the acquisition process, making this a natural and exciting fit.

HOW DID THIS IDEA TAKE SHAPE?   BLRB’s managing principal, Greg McCracken, and Ascent owner, Seth Anderson, were former colleagues and maintained a professional relationship grounded by a shared approach to design, service and operations. A chance meeting in the Redmond airport last year led to a series of conversations revealing synergies in the two firms’ approach to architectural planning and design, client service and workplace culture that culminated in the decision to unite under one roof. Both firms put client-driven design at the heart of their business models and shared a vision of becoming a regional resource and innovative design leader for clients across the region.

WHAT’S THE LOCAL INDUSTRY IMPACT?   This move positions BLRB Architects as one of the largest firms in the Central Oregon market with a deep bench of talent and capabilities. Every practice area from K-12 to housing, public agency to brewery, product manufacturing to restaurants has been enhanced by the infusion of additional team talent with an emphasis on client-focused design and responsive service.

HOW WILL THIS AFFECT PROJECTS AND CLIENTS?   Clients of both firms will experience a seamless transition and will benefit from this expanded bench of staff and capabilities. Existing project teams will remain in place so that momentum, knowledge and team synergy are carried forward and maintained. Clients will benefit from staff access to new resources and technologies, and will continue to experience excellence in service, engagement and the design product.

WHAT’S NEXT?   Staff at BLRB Architects and Ascent will remain in their locations for a short time before bring operations under one roof later this Fall. Watch for more acquisition news and what it means for the architectural landscape in Central Oregon over the coming months.

Newly Promoted Staff at BLRB Architects

BLRB Architects is pleased to announce staff promotions across our regional offices.

Robert Lindstrom, AIA, has been elevated to Principal of the firm. Lindstrom joined BLRB in 1997 and has served as an associate principal of the firm since 2011. With nearly 30 years of experience, Bob has served almost exclusively on the planning, design and delivery of K-12 projects. His recent projects include the modernization of Forks High School in Forks, WA; and Lakeridge Middle School in Sumner, WA. He is currently serving the Auburn School District for the replacement of Olympic Middle School and a new elementary school, both slated to open September 2019.

Chris Moore, AIA; Heidi Slaybaugh, AIA; and Chris Shelton have been promoted to Senior Associates of the firm. Moore serves as a director of the firm’s Bend office and leads the firm’s commercial projects in Oregon. Also a director of the firm’s Bend office, Slaybaugh manages the firm’s K-12 projects in Central and Eastern Oregon. Chris Shelton, who has been with the firm since 2009, is BLRB’s Marketing Director and is based in Tacoma.

Located in BLRB’s Tacoma office, Angela Borrowman, LEED GA; Charla Burgdorf, AIA; and Jay Henson, AIA, LEED AP; have been promoted to Associates of the firm. Joining them as Associates are Michael Harmel, Assoc. AIA, and Angela Crooks in the Portland office, and Mindy Lyman, NCIDQ, LEED AP, in Bend. 

BLRB is proud to recognize these employees for their client-focused mindset, professional expertise, and dedication to BLRB Architects’ continued leadership in educational architecture throughout the Northwest.

BLRB Celebrates 65th Anniversary

May 2018 marks 65 years in business for BLRB Architects. In May 1953, Donald F. Burr established Donald F. Burr, AIA and Associates in Lakewood, Washington, and led the firm as managing principal until 1981. In an era when architects were often prescriptive in their design methods, Burr developed the collaborative, interactive project planning and design process that is still a recognized hallmark of our firm’s service today.

In the 1960s, Burr became intrigued by changes taking place in educational theory, as educators acknowledged that the physical environment has a significant impact on student achievement and teacher performance. Shifting the firm’s design emphasis from sophisticated residential and commercial projects to a focus on educational architecture, Burr became a regionally and nationally recognized leader in the field of educational architecture.

In 1982, Jerry Lawrence and Paul Rising purchased the firm, creating Burr Lawrence Rising Architects. In 1989, the firm was renamed Burr Lawrence Rising + Bates Architects following the elevation of Thomas Bates as a principal of the firm. Soon after, the firm was renamed BLRB Architects and has grown to include offices in Tacoma and Spokane, Washington; and Portland and Bend, Oregon. To this day, BLRB Architects continues Don Burr’s legacy of collaborative, sustainable and flexible design for a variety of building types.

Auburn's Olympic Middle School Breaks Ground

Bob Lindstrom and Ron Harpel from BLRB recently joined staff, students, and officials from Auburn School District and the City of Auburn to break ground on the replacement of Olympic Middle School. The new 105,000 square-foot school will be built on the site of the existing Olympic Middle School with an estimated construction value of $53.7 million.  The new building is scheduled for a June 2019 completion.