If there was a movie about your life, who would play you? Getting to know Mark Peterson, principal and architect of JPC Architects
The game room at the Wizards of the Coast, designed by JPC Architects. Photographed by Chris Eden Photography.
With the newly completed Wizards of the Coast’s fantastical-meets-luxury game room, JPC Architects is again making headlines. Based in Bellevue, Washington, the interior architecture firm first opened its doors in 1986 with one key client, Microsoft. Now one of the largest design studios in the Pacific Northwest, JPC’s portfolio is brimming with local and international corporate clients the likes of Pokémon, Expedia Group, PitchBook, Twitter, Indeed, and more. Among those at the helm is principal and architect Mark Peterson. Described as passionate and hard working, Peterson fosters a culture of collaboration and the pursuit of peak performance—which is evident throughout their body of work. He credits an über talented team of more than 70 architects, interior designers, and technical staff as the company’s most valuable assets. I recently had the opportunity to ask about his life as an architect as part of our ongoing "5 Questions For" series.
Hi, Mark. One of my favorite questions to ask people is “what did you want to be when you were five years old?” So, let’s start there.
You’re gonna think this is really funny, I wanted to be an architect. My parents had no money but always seemed to be doing something to our home… put in carpet, pull out the carpet, wallpaper everything, then change it five more times, add molding and casements then pull them out. It was never ending. I guess that experience formed my interest in how the built environment can have an effect on its occupants. After a brief stint studying agricultural economics in college (story for another day), I came back to architecture.
And you saw it through!
Yah, architecture is a profession that has the ability to satisfy both technical and creative passions. The work product continually varies.
Wizards of the Coast game room in Bellevue, Washington. Photographed by Chris Eden Photography.
Is that the best part of the job?
That, and delivering on the promise to execute a solution to a programmatic vision within an agreed timeframe for an acceptable cost. There is no greater success, regardless of scope, than meeting expectations.
Private Division's high-tech office in the Watershed Building, part of the city of Seattle's Living Building Pilot Program. Photographed by Cleary O’Farrell Photography.
What’s the smartest thing you’ve done in your career so far?
Listen to other people. If you continually want to only hear your own voice, your own vision, there’s something wrong. Great design is strengthened by collaboration, never diluted by it.
Agree. And listening can be done in a variety of ways. Who is the latest person you started following on Instagram?
Michael Imber Architects. Michael exhibits a passion for his craft that fully permeates his life. His work is creative, timeless, and based on historical reference, rich in vernacular details.
Pitchbook's New York office. Photographed by Chris Eden Photography.
I was supposed to limit this to five questions, but let’s do a few more just for fun.
What’s a perfect day off look like?
Big mountain skiing. Or any activity that requires singular focus while engaging it.
What is one item you can’t live without?
Passion, it drives everything I do or dream about doing.
If there was a movie about your life, who would play you and why?
Whoever it is, they would be a seasoned character actor who admires the craft more than the accolades.
The design for nine of the floors at Indeed's Seattle office are broken down into three “Dunbar Communities,” inspired by Robin Dunbar’s theory, as explained here. Photographed by Chris Eden Photography.
Thank you, Mark. JPC Architects continues to create beautiful, smart spaces and I can’t wait to see what you do next.