Cary Westerbeck invests his talents in Bothell’s revitalization


Cary Westerbeck remembers when Bothell was a smaller town and the North Creek Wetlands were a working cattle ranch.  A lifelong resident, Westerbeck takes pride in his north Lake Washington roots and the bustling region it’s become. Today, he is the principal of westerbeck|architecture, based in downtown Bothell and specializing in modern works of architecture including remodels, custom homes, multi-family, and mixed-use commercial projects.

An early IAS alum, Westerbeck attended classes at the Canyon Park site and graduated in 1999 with a B.A. in Liberal Studies and concentration in science, technology and the environment. As a student, he took an internship at Seattle Public Utilities and later, a permanent position managing a restoration project in the Thornton Creek watershed.

Though deeply intrigued by ecology and sustainability, Westerbeck felt a pull toward design and decided to pursue a master’s in architecture. He was accepted into the UW Master of Architecture program and believes his interdisciplinary training gave him a competitive edge. “When I joined the program,” says Westerbeck, “the staff shared with me that they look for students with well-rounded liberal arts backgrounds, as their diverse educational experience tends to set them up for success.”

Westerbeck’s passion for architecture and community-oriented development has carried him through hard times. After five years at an established firm, the 2009 economic crisis delivered an unexpected layoff. Thus began Westerbeck’s foray into sole proprietorship, which has paid off due to his tenacity, talent and love of the region. These days, Westerbeck is focusing on development and is currently building a mixed-use four-plex across from the downtown Bothell Library. He’s excited about Bothell’s revitalization – the new gathering spaces, businesses, and increased walkability – and serves as Chair of the city’s Landmark Preservation Board. He also recently created an urbanist community group called BoPOP (Bothellites for People-Oriented Places) to work with other community members interested in creating complete neighborhoods and a safe, walkable city with every day shops and services close at hand and more diverse and affordable housing choices.

Westerbeck is proud of his UW Bothell education and the campus’s relationship with the city. “My education at UWB was of the highest quality, with impressive professors who opened my mind and pushed my intellectual capacity. I loved my time there and grew tremendously as a person. Now that I’m living in downtown Bothell, I’m deeply interested in building community here. A long term goal of mine is to help the city ‘knit’ the campus into downtown more completely along Beardslee Boulevard with thoughtful, human-scaled, fine-grained re-development, including generous pedestrian and protected bike paths that invite citizens to make the trek between town and campus.”

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