Reinvent, Transform, and Renovate

Bellevue City Hall

City of Bellevue, WA

This award-winning project transformed an outdated building into a state-of-the-art civic structure for the City of Bellevue. The inside-out renovation saved the existing shell of the original 6-story building but reorganized and added space to the interior to house the city’s vital public safety.


350,000 sf


Bellevue, WA

Year Complete


2008 Merit Award — AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Awards

2008 Merit Award — CSLA National

2007 Commendation Award — AIA Seattle

2007 Project of the Month — AIA Seattle

2007 Job of the Year — National Terrazzo & Mosaic Association, Terrazzo Honor Awards

2006 Honor Award — IIDA Portland

2006 Public Project of the Year — National Association of Industrial & Office Properties

2006 Citation Award — AIA Washington Council Civic Design Awards

2006 Treasure Award — Bellevue Downtown Association Community

The project began when the City commissioned a study of five Bellevue sites as possible locations for a new city hall and public safety facility. Extensive planning and financial models were created to identify the best site for this new city hall and public safety complex, which involved a complete renovation and redesign of the old Qwest headquarters. All City departments are now housed under one roof, including the technically specialized functions of the police department and the City’s emergency response infrastructure.

The design artfully interweaves these functions with generous and elegant public spaces that welcome citizens to participate in their government. Detailed departmental space planning was completed for city hall and public safety functions, as well as layout, selection, and specifications for open office workstations for 900 employees.

The goal of the design team was to renovate the existing telecommunications building from an opaque, foreboding structure into a welcoming, user-friendly, public amenity, transform the facility to contain the complex programmatic needs of the city, and renovate the interior and exterior spaces with distinct forms and spaces, appropriate for an important civic institution.

At the new building’s heart is a 300-foot long light-filled public concourse. The renovation includes the design of a new circular city council chambers. Re-cladding the former painted concrete exterior with terra cotta and metal panels added to the building’s overall transformation; seismic and energy efficient improvements also updated the building’s older infrastructure. Unlike the entry to the existing building, which descended nearly a full story and was not visible from the street, the new city hall entry celebrates its place in the city by reaching out to the street and the plaza and lawn.