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Person Behind the Place: Julia Nagele

July 6, 2021 - by Brooke Wilson

Person Behind the Place:
Julia Nagele

Principal Architect, Director of Design | Hewitt

One of the creative developers behind 888 Bellevue Tower, Julia Nagele, laid the conceptual foundation for the recently completed 20-story, mixed-use tower located in the Heart of Bellevue. Known for her preeminent contributions in shaping the Seattle skyline, Julia has risen to the challenge with innovative design sensibilities and a fierce work ethic.

How does Downtown Bellevue stand apart from other metro areas? 

Bellevue’s history and growth are distinctive from other cities and embracing those differences has proved very beneficial for its urban development. Based on our experience designing the 888 tower, we were driven to engage with street fronts differently by advancing the idea of a “City in a Park," which incorporates a variety of lush, natural spaces into breaks along a block. Other cities’ downtown areas may desire continuous, clearly defined street fronts and view aesthetic variety in ways that work differently for those environments.

What were you hoping to achieve in your concept for the 888 Bellevue Tower? 

Sometimes we describe our design goals at HEWITT in plain terms such as, “make places that people point to and say: I want to go there.”  I think we achieved that with the 888 property. Due to zoning and access constraints, we ultimately benefited from creating a building with open access at the street level with pockets of greenery and scenic views through and beyond the site. We love engineering this animated street experience and crafting high-rises with porous edges.

How do you think Downtown's land use & livability will change over the next few years?

As a designer, I am often asked how the pandemic has affected the way people think about the cities. Over thousands of years, cities have weathered immense change, and will continue to; cities are very resilient places. But any endurance requires planning, political will and strategic expertise. Recently, Bellevue has valued a high density downtown core through several initiatives and efforts like the Grand Connection and the East Main Transit Oriented District. The ability to create density, variety and choice for people in Bellevue, and the foresight to make it happen, will serve the city well. 

Finally, do you have any favorite spots to dine out in Bellevue?
Ascend Prime Steak & Sushi has amazing food and incredible views! For drinks, Civility & Unrest has been a longtime favorite cocktail spot. Looking forward to visiting when its doors open again in the fall.

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Person Behind the Place is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.