Bill Bain Jr., an NBBJ partner and son of Bill Bain (who founded NBBJ in 1943 during WWII in Seattle) died on June 8. NBBJ has issued a statement saying that Bain was the “heart and soul” of the firm, and after 64 years was its longest-serving employee. He studied architecture at Cornell University, where he joined the U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. He trained as a combat engineer and found himself leading an 85-man construction battalion in Alaska at age 23. “The military gives you so much more responsibility than you ought to have,” Bain said.
Bain joined NBBJ on 1955, then-named Naramore, Bain, Brady and Johanson. “It was a pretty stiff place back then,” he said. “They had a little bell at 8 a.m. and you’d better be at your drafting table.”
Baine eschewed the idea of the firm being known for “star” designers and instead “recruited a number of talented designers with a variety of approaches and gave them personal credit for their work.” His work in Seattle includes the 1981 restoration of the city’s historic Olympic Hotel, the U.S. District Courthouse and Pacific Place, the centerpiece of Seattle’s retail revitalization in 2000.