President: Donald King

Specialty: Public-use facilities

Year founded: 1985

2002 revenues: $1.8 million

Projected 2003 revenues: $3 million

Largest current project: Seattle Police Department support facility

By focusing on clinics, schools, nonprofit offices and other public-use buildings, DKA avoids the ups and downs of design work generated by retail and condominium sales, said Donald King, the architecture firm’s president. But DKA’s niche has its challenges.

“When the economy tightens, clients become more demanding,” King said. “We do project management and act as owners’ representatives. They want more for their money.”

King said DKA added three employees in the past year, bringing the firm’s roster to 21. He also said the firm is accepting more projects worth $5 million and up.

King said DKA recently designed community clinics, nonprofit offices and non-housing facilities for local housing authorities. He said DKA belongs to the United States Green Building Council, and he’s working on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certification for his staff.

King said more nonprofits are getting interested in green design elements, which he contends can cut lifecycle costs. “Nonprofits might have capital funding to do a project but not much to maintain it,” he said.

He said the firm’s largest design project right now is a $22 million, 200,000-square-foot renovation of the old Starbuck’s roasting plant and corporate office into a Seattle Police Department support center. King said the city is shooting for a LEED Silver rating for the project. King said another recent DKA achievement was being chosen by Seattle Monorail Project designer VIA Suzuki to design Green Line stations for Sodo and Pioneer Square.

It’s early to talk details, but King said he envisions the stations as “neighborhood enhancements” bridging future and past.

King said his monorail station ideas are shared by GGN and Miller/Hull Partnership, who VIA Suzuki also hired as Sodo and Pioneer Square station design subcontractors.

“It’s exciting,” King said. “We don’t come in with a preconceived idea.”

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