Rick Mohler

Professor, Chair

Richard (Rick) Mohler, FAIA, NCARB received BA and Master of Architecture degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a licensed architect and Professor of Architecture at the University of Washington where he leverages synergies between his teaching, research, practice, and advocacy to promote just, policy-driven cities, shaped by principled design, addressing all scales of urban experience while building connections between the academy, profession, government, and community.

He has over thirty-five years of experience in professional practice on both coasts including work with the Philadelphia firms of Mitchell Giurgola and Venturi, Rauch, and Scott Brown, where he was member of the winning competition team for the National Gallery Extension in London, and Olson Sundberg (now Olson Kundig) Architects in Seattle where he co-designed the firm’s winning submission to the University Street LID urban design competition. He has over twenty-five years of experience as a principal of his own firm and his work with this firm, other firms, and in independent collaborations has been recognized through local, national, and international design competitions and awards programs over thirty times and has been published extensively.

Rick leverages his design studio teaching by collaborating with community partners to address challenges facing the Seattle region and beyond. He won a 2021 ACSA/AIA Housing Design Education Award for his “Neighborhoods for All” research design studio and seminar taught in collaboration with the Seattle Planning Commission, which addressed the social inequities of single-family zoning policy. His students have been recognized twenty times in regional, national, and international student design competitions and awards programs.

The nexus of design, policy and social change is the focus of Rick’s research interests. In 2019 he co-led a collaboration between the Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development, the Seattle Planning Commission and the UW Data Science for Social Good Program to develop an application for homeowners to determine the physical and financial feasibility of developing an Accessory Dwelling Unit on their parcel. Dubbed ADUniverse, the application received a 2020 R+D Award from ARCHITECT magazine and was officially launched by the City of Seattle in the same year. Rick is a co-founder of Sound Communities, a volunteer group of civic leaders focused on leveraging the Puget Sound region’s $60 billion transit investment to build complete communities with an abundance of affordable housing at transit stations to address the regional housing affordability crisis at scale. The effort has received nearly $1 million in combined state and private funding to establish Housing Benefit Districts at transit hubs through state level legislation.

Rick is an effective advocate for housing affordability who writes and speaks frequently at AIA and ACSA national conferences and symposia and other venues. As member and former co-chair of the Seattle Planning Commission, Rick advises the Mayor and City Council on issues of land use, housing and transportation and is co-leading the commission’s efforts to revise Seattle’s inequitable growth strategy in the current major update to the city’s Comprehensive Plan. As co-chair of the AIA Seattle Public Policy Board he led the chapter’s housing advocacy efforts which have garnered national recognition from the AIA.

Rick is a co-founder of the Clean Hands Collective, a volunteer group of architects, landscape architects and health care professionals which developed low cost, DIY handwashing and hygiene facilities for people experiencing homelessness in the wake of the pandemic. The project received funding from the Seattle City Council and a 2022 Place Design Award from the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) and a 2022 national AIA Small Projects Award.

In recognition of his contributions to practice, education, research and advocacy, Rick was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in 2021 and awarded the AIA Seattle Gold Medal, the highest honor given to its members, in 2022.