Principal, Baylis Architects
s one of four principals who lead Baylis Architects, Brian Brand has been a resident of the Bellevue/Kirkland area of Washington since 1970 and has experienced much of its urban growth firsthand. He’s known for his modernist Northwestern style, and is currently at work on a variety projects, including a new tennis club, private residences and corporate offices throughout the region. “There are so many design opportunities created by the Pacific Northwest’s unique environment, such as the slopes, lakes, mountains and evergreen trees,” Brand says. “I appreciate how this community values quality architecture that fits into its environment.” Here, Brand takes us on a tour of what makes Seattle’s sister cities to the east thriving cultural hubs.
9 a.m. Meet at the Baylis office early on a Saturday and begin with a stroll up 108th Avenue to Caffe Ladro. The mocha latte and chocolate croissant are indulgent and classic.
10 a.m. Then, walk along the pedestrian corridor toward The Bellevue Collection and the Bellevue Arts Museum–a cultural institution designed by architect Steven Holl, which focuses on art, craft and design. The Walter McConnell exhibition, a collection of unfired clay sculptures encapsulated in glass terrariums, is on display until mid-February.
12 p.m. Walk south through the Bellevue Downtown Park to peruse the art installations. I always like to take a moment to pause at the 240-foot-high waterfall on the south side of the park and take in the skyline. The new Inspiration Playground donated by the Rotary Club of Bellevue is also really impressive.
1 p.m. Make your way down Old Main Street, where inhabitants settled in the early 20th century. Meydenbauer Bay used to be the site of a whaling port, and many of the original buildings built during that time are still standing.
1:30 p.m. While you’re in the area, stop in for lunch at the 520 Bar & Grill. I like to order the 520 Burger and a cold, draft beer.
2:30 p.m. After lunch, drive north on Lake Washington Boulevard to the city of Kirkland. Park the car and take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront to enjoy the many public parks.
3:30 p.m. If you have time, explore the old downtown area near Moss Bay. This area has countless art galleries, antiques shops and restaurants. Stop along Moss Bay, where, even in the winter, you can watch the boaters coming and going from the marina.
6 p.m. For stunning views of Seattle, Lake Washington and the Olympic Mountains, have dinner at Anthony’s Homeport Restaurant. It’s the perfect spot to end the day and watch the sunset. I recommend ordering a Hale’s Red Menace Big Amber and splitting the crispy calamari.