Whether it’s an office, retail space, hotel, or restaurant, a commercial space must reflect the values of the people who will be using it. Working with an architect who can help you figure out your programmatic and financial objectives will enhance your project’s value and ultimately enrich the community.

To help you choose the right designer equipped to handle any building deliverables you might require, our team has listed the best commercial architects in Bellingham, Washington. These firms were selected for their accreditations, certifications, and professional affiliations. We also considered the recognition each firm has received in the form of industry awards, client reviews, and press features. We have laid out the range of services the firms offer, their specializations, and the length of time they have been in the industry. 

Olson Kundig

159 South Jackson Street, Suite 600, Seattle, WA 98104

Founded in 1966 as a primarily residential firm, Olson Kundig has expanded its architectural portfolio to include commercial and mixed-use buildings, museums, cultural and civic centers, residences, and hospitality projects. The firm’s in-house Interiors Studio evolved as an outgrowth of the philosophy that integrated interior design and architectural services produced more cohesive design solutions. Close collaboration with craftspeople, artisans and fabricators allows design teams to develop custom elements and furniture pieces that harmonize with the architecture. As a signatory to the AIA 2030 Commitment, sustainable strategies are incorporated into their design process from the start through analytical tools that examine a building’s energy use, thermal comfort, and other performance factors.

Founding partner Jim Olson has spent his career studying the relationship between art, nature, and architecture, as well as light and space. He was inducted into the American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows for his contributions to the profession, and is also a recipient of the AIA Seattle Medal of Honor. Under his leadership, Olson Kundig has received a National Architecture Firm Award from the AIA, been included in the AD100 list fourteen times, and been named one of the Top Ten Most Innovative Companies in Architecture by Fast Company four times. Olson has established a culture of design excellence at the firm, demonstrated by their work on the Lightcatcher at the Whatcom Museum.

An iconic 37-foot-tall, 176-foot-long translucent wall, “the lightcatcher,” is the focal point and backdrop of the project, gently curving to form a spacious exterior courtyard and civic gathering space while bridging the museum’s interior and exterior spaces. Pedestrians can view the courtyard—and the art and activities within—through large openings to the street, ensuring the Museum is as active outside as it is inside. Completed in 2009, it was the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver-certified museum in the State of Washington.

Rolluda Architects, Inc.

105 South Main Street, Suite 323, Seattle, WA 98104

Rolluda Architects is an architecture, interior design, and planning firm established in 2002 by Alex Rolluda. The firm caters to both private- and public-sector clients and specializes in the design of aviation, community, educational, industrial, mixed-use, multi-family and residential, municipal, government, retail, commercial, and transportation projects that have garnered awards from the Associated Builders and Contractors.

Alex Rolluda fulfills his duties as the president of Rolluda Architects and ensures that the principles of the AIA are upheld in the firm’s work as a member of the organization. He has served as Commissioner for the Pike Place Market Historic District and currently serves as Chair for the Design Committee. He is a former Commissioner for the International District Association and is actively involved on the AIA Seattle, Diversity Committee. Alex was appointed by the Director of Enterprise Services, State of Washington, to serve as the Capitol Campus Design Advisory Committee Chair. He supervises the team in achieving clients’ strategic objectives.

A product of Rolluda’s integrity and teamwork is the Bellingham Fire Department. The facility has three apparatus bays, dorms for a crew of six, living quarters, a fitness facility, a mechanical mezzanine, and administrative areas. Working within a strict budget, the design incorporates traditional building components in a manner to produce a simple form that has civic presence and aesthetic interest.

SHKS Architects PS Inc.

1050 N 38th Street, Seattle, WA 98103

With expertise in the renovation, repair, and adaptation of buildings for contemporary use, SHKS Architects PS Inc. translates the client’s vision into the built environment and at the same time, conserves energy and resources. The firm champions collaboration and craft through engaging design that has won awards from the AIA and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

Principal Jonathan Hartung has managed numerous institutional, commercial, and residential projects in the 35 years he has been practicing. He is a Fellow of the Northwest Institute for Architecture and Urban Study and a member of the AIA and the Association for Preservation Technology. Hartung serves the community through volunteer efforts such as partaking as a board member and president of the Green Lake Rowing Advisory Council and the Associated Recreation Council of Seattle. Jonathan and the principals’ shared passion for building reuse and preservation is a motivating force that compels the nature of the firm’s work, as seen in the design of the Ferndale Public Library.

The library is a simple shed reflecting the unpretentious agricultural buildings surrounding Ferndale’s lively downtown — a generous, light-filled barn for books and community gathering with the capacity to adapt to future needs. Developed in collaboration with community members, the City, and Library staff, the 15,000-square-foot library affirms the continuing relevance of libraries in rural communities.

Dykeman Architects

1716 West Marine View Drive, 2nd Floor, Everett, WA 98201

Dykeman Architects designs commercial, K-12 schools, public, residential, and religious projects with certification from the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA). The firm’s multidisciplinary project teams deliver architecture, interiors, and graphic design through proactive collaboration and communication. Dykeman is also able to provide historic restoration, construction administration, and sustainable design. 

Principal Kelli Smith is a member of the AIA and Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) and is a LEED Accredited Professional. Her experience as an architect and interior designer includes designing community places such as K-12 schools, libraries, banks, and city halls. Under Kelli’s leadership, Dykeman Architects earned the Energy in Design Award from AIA Seattle and a Silver Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Washington. Under her leadership, Dykeman Architects completed the Sehome High School, a new modern facility with a capacity for 1,200 students. This new high school consists of one main structure with a two-story academic wing and a performing arts and physical education wing. The site includes active social spaces for the public and school community, active hands-on learning spaces immediately adjacent to internal learning spaces, and fields and play courts for physical activity.

Jackson | Main Architecture

311 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

When two established firms merged to form Jackson | Main Architecture (JMA) in 2015, significant accomplishments quickly followed. After just two years, the firm made the Puget Sound Business Journal’s Fastest Growing Companies list in 2017. The following year, the company was on the publication’s Largest Puget Sound Architectural Firms list. In addition to becoming one of the most productive modular designers in the Northwest, the firm also designed the first two LEED Certified self-storage facilities in Washington. JMA’s portfolio includes several impressive commercial projects including a hockey training facility expansion, as well as the Seattle Great Wheel. The firm makes sure to understand each client as well as their industry and stakeholders to reach a project’s desired destination.

An example of the firm’s work is the Goodwill store in Bellingham. JMA designed the transformation of an existing 15,929 SF theater space and 4,626 SF warehouse into a new Goodwill store in Bellingham, Washington. The renovation helped revitalize Bellingham’s Sunset Square shopping center on Sunset Pond.

Ankrom Moisan Architects, Inc.

1505 5th Avenue, Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98101

Established in 1983, Ankrom Moisan provides architecture, interior design, urban planning, and brand identity for nine industry sectors. With offices in Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco, the firm has completed more than 22,000 projects across 500 cities. In Bellingham, the firm has designed major builds including a residence hall at Whatcom Community College and the Peacehealth St. Joseph Integrated Cancer Center.

Funded by state bonds, the Whatcom Community College Cedar Hall project began with a public/private progressive design-build team composed of experts across industries. Architects, interior designers, landscape architects, outside design consultants, general contractors, estimators, and MEP contractors worked alongside Whatcom Community College leaders, the city of Bellingham, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Photo by Aaron Locke

Gathering design input from students, administrators, and the local community, Ankrom Moisan conducted workshops, online surveys, meet-and-greet booths, and one-on-one interviews to create a design concept centered around “cultivating community.” Completed in 2020, the first student housing on WCC’s campus features shared social spaces, private study areas, and an overall aesthetic that celebrates the college’s agricultural surroundings.

Freiheit Architecture

777 108th Avenue, NE Suite 1650, Bellevue, WA 98004

With accreditation from the Commercial Real Estate Development Association (NAIOP), Freiheit Architecture collaborates with developers and private-sector owners in designing commercial spaces that benefit the communities in which we live. Architectural design, master planning, interior design, entitlements, and retail strategy are some of the firm’s core professional areas. Its in-house LEED AP staff support the firm’s abilities in sustainable design and value engineering. Freiheit Architecture’s portfolio has grown to include multi-family, mixed-use, and hotel projects, in addition to its original concentration on office, retail, and industrial developments.

Dustin Thorlakson, Jen Caudle, Michael Langston, and Chris Amonson make up the partnership that led the firm to a Hospitality & Entertainment Development of the Year award. Performing his duties as president of the firm, Thorlackson is Autodesk certified and a member of NAIOP Seattle Chapter; Langston and Amonson lend their expertise in green design as LEED Accredited Professionals. They have cultivated Freiheit Architecture’s client-oriented approach to a simplified design process that has yielded value-adding projects such as the Lummi Nation Administration Building. This 120,000-square-foot administration building centralizes tribal services and is an important architectural piece for the Lummi Nation community. Its three-story floor-to-ceiling glass curtain wall is framed by cabin log elements to express a sense of culture and nature.

RMC Architects, PLLC

1223 Railroad Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225

RMC Architects takes inspiration from context and people in tailoring its designs to the owners and end-users of the spaces, and it does so while applying sustainability measures. Higher education, medical, religious, institutional, industrial, commercial, affordable, and market-rate housing, as well as residential clients, all benefit from RMC’s planning, architectural, accessibility, and interior design services. The firm is especially passionate about projects that have a deep connection to the community, are intellectually stimulating, and are anchored in the liberal arts.

Jeff McClure co-founded RMC Architects in 1986 and leads the firm alongside principals Brad Cornwell and Neil McCarthy. McClure actively participates in the community as a board member of the Jansen Art Center. He had previously served as the vice president of the Northwest Economic Development Council, and president of the Whatcom Museum of History and Art and the City Center Development Authority. He has ushered RMC into developing commercial buildings that meet the standards of the Whatcom Business Alliance and the AIA such as the Rocket Building in the Fairhaven Historic District.

The building is designed in the Art Deco style, prominent in the 1920s. The design intent was to be unique but respectful of its prominent neighbors through the use of time-honored design elements such as articulated stone and masonry, tall retail spaces at street level, deep-set windows, cornice detailing, and an overall harmony of scale.

Caron Architecture

801 Blanchard Street, Suite 200, Seattle, WA 98121 

The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) has recognized Caron for its architecture, master planning, space planning, and interior design work produced in partnership with national and international clients. Caron is capable of handling up-front marketing feasibility studies all the way through design and construction administration. The firm’s command over design and land-use planning has elevated its ability to expedite project delivery, yielding innovative and marketable solutions. 

CEO and founder Radim Blazej is the driving force of leadership and design within Caron. He is committed to resolving design challenges and maintaining effective communication with clients to achieve their goals. Blazej has built great connections with the developers and municipalities and leverages his design experience in growing Caron’s architecture and planning practice. Much of the firm’s diverse portfolio reflects Blazej’s thoughtful design methodology and sensitivity to context. An example is First Western Properties’ new office building in Kirkland, a 5,108-square-foot, two-story wood and steel construction commercial building. The building’s rooftop deck is designed for entertaining clients and providing agents and staff with a shared area to socialize, with expansive southerly views of Lake Washington and Juanita Bay.

Carletti Architects P.S.

116 E First Street, Suite A, Mount Vernon, WA 98273

Carletti Architects specializes in architecture, interior design, and master planning in the public and private sectors. Its extensive experience in the development and permitting process has made the firm a reliable source of guidance from acquiring financing to managing the construction process. In addition to architecture and design, Carletti can deliver tenant improvements, value engineering, feasibility studies, and land use consulting services. 

In his 32 years of experience, Peter J. Carletti refined his skills working for Mithun Partners and Roger Williams Architects in Seattle and Janicki Architects before establishing his own firm. His career has focused on both small and large-scale design and planning projects where he was able to form solid relationships with numerous local contractors and municipalities. Peter and his team have built a portfolio that has received recognition from the Skagit County Builder Association. 

The Carletti team worked as an integrated team in completing Woods Coffee Bellingham. Walls of windows look out on the Arts District and with the interior decorated with warm woods and natural elements mixed with rustic and industrial touches. Small areas are set aside for casual, closed-off meeting space or communal activities.

Haven Design Workshop

5828 Second Avenue, Suite 101, Ferndale, WA 98248

Haven Design Workshop devotes energy and enthusiasm to every project as it takes a humanistic approach to sustainable design. Throughout the design process, the firm sticks to the set budget, adheres to local and international codes, and keeps the needs of the clients and end-users in mind. It fosters a collaborative relationship with clients, consultants, and building jurisdictions, creating a positive experience for everyone involved.

Principal Architect and LEED AP Sean Hegstad held leadership positions in a number of prestigious firms including JWR Design and Zervas Group Architects where he gained considerable experience in residential and commercial design.  He served as a board member of the AIA, which has honored him with multiple awards. Hegstad has broadened and strengthened the firmʼs practice by working hand-in-hand with the Haven Design staff, contractors, and suppliers on projects such as Aslan Brewing Co.

The client wanted to reuse old materials wherever possible and give them new life in the finished space. The old floor sheathing was saved to be reused as wall cladding while other creative reuse opportunities were found in the steel and wood bar tops and railings, the large picture windows which showcase the brewery equipment beyond, and the re-exposed structural glulam beams overhead.