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​As Frank Lloyd Wright said, 'If you foolishly ignore beauty, you'll soon find yourself without it. Your life will be impoverished. But if you wisely invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.'"

Our design philosophy is to embrace Beauty- " the quality attributed to that which pleases or satisfies in certain ways, as by line, color, form, texture proportion, rhythm, tone, or by behavior and attitude." Beauty takes us to a higher place.

Beauty can be viewed in all things of this universe, but in architecture in particular, through the art and science of architecture, strive to create this quality, utilizing the specific site and interpreting the clients program utilizing the tools of form, proportion, light, rhythm, texture, materials, and of course, a sense of place.

Form…..delineates volumes, looking for the hierarchy of parts, instead of just spaces, addressing function while creating dramatic and evocative spaces.

Light…..the medium that creates everything, changes the color of our environment…our moods can energize the character of space. Even after the sun goes down, special attention must be paid to the mood, both inside and out, expanding the appreciation of a place.

Rhythm…..and texture form the interplay of elements that enrich and deepen otherwise simple components.

Materials and Sustainability…..Rich materials, honestly and creatively used, become more than the elements that they are, creating the fabric of the space which brings together all the elements above.....meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own.

Place….the building and it’s site develop relationships to the external elements,……sun, wind, views, privacy, (and a host of others to consider), as well as creating a place within, such as refuge, entertaining, and the daily functions of each space..... which meets all of the conditions, including….delight.

We strive for stylistic diversity that comes from the project rather than being imposed , contextual in its’ environment, being local and yet responsive to the program of the client. Style, when forced, can become a cage, rather than a direction.


Ronald E. Coulter, AIA emeritus, NCARB

Principal and owner


After finishing school in Utah and moving to Washington, Mr. Coulter started his Seattle career as a project manager in the renowned Seattle firm of TRA, managing the passenger terminal Design of the Sea-Tac Airport expansion project of 1968.


In 1973, Coulter co-founded the firm of Bryant & Coulter, located in down town Bellevue,  Where they had the University of Alaska as a client, managing the school expansion program throughout the state of Alaska, instituting ground breaking new methods of procurement and component designing.  Co-authored the Master Design Manual for all new buildings in the state school system, with energy as the primary design imperative. (1973 to 1980.) Mr. Coulter holds a Cold Regions Engineering certification from the University of Washington.


Principal and CEO of the firm HNTB, Inc. PS,  ( a subsidiary of HNTB Corp.) directing the Bellevue office of this international firm of 3,500 professionals in 32 offices, where he was the principal for HNTB in the joint venture of TRA + HNTB in the design of Seattle's Washington State Convention and Trade Center, as well as other convention centers; office buildings, hospital surgery centers; and justice centers. (1980 to 1988 )


He was Executive V.P. in the commercial construction company:  Evergreen State Construction, located in Renton, Washington, performing hard bid commercial type projects. 1988 to 1991


He was Principal Architect and CEO of the firm Sverdrup Architecture, Inc. PS. a subsidiary of Sverdrup Corp. directing the Kirkland, Washington office of this international Architecture and Engineering company of 2,800 professionals headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, designing Marinas, Justice Centers, and office buildings.


Founded Coulter Architects, PLLC located on Mercer Island in 1993, and subsequently, moved the practice to Lake Chelan in 1999.....where we now practice as a smaller firm doing projects more attuned to the community in which we are located.  The practice is about half high end residential and half commercial. We also have been doing projects in the Seattle area, and currently maintain an office in the Bellevue area. 


Owner of Domus Design Construction, LTD. a construction company set up specifically to build high end custom homes, in the Mercer Island and Seattle area, designed by Coulter Architects and owned by Domus.  These houses were all sold as a part of the business plan. This is an activity I have been doing as an ancillary  business since 1974, and continue to do periodically.  

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