practical architecture
Call Joel at 425-422-4276


Joel Niemi is a Northwest Native, born in Oregon and a Snohomish County resident since 1979.

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Joel Niemi Architect was founded in October, 2011.  The firm focus is on practical architecture – not “architecture for architects” as dispensed by wearers of black turtleneck sweaters, not copying the latest fads and forms – delivering solid value through solid projects.  Previously, Joel was a principal member of Dykeman Inc., Washington’s largest architectural firm north of the King/Snohomish County line, where he was employed for 32 years.  (A younger generation, many trained in part by him, now leads that firm.) 


Academic credentials include the degrees Master of Architecture from the University of Washington and Artium Baccalaureus (B.A., in Latin) from Princeton University (they let him in, and he is grateful for the experience).  Architects continue to learn throughout their careers, and Joel eagerly seeks out opportunities to extend his education.  He believes that learning about how contractors do their work should be interesting to architects as well, and was in the first graduating class of the local Associated General Contractors’ “Lean Construction” certification program in 2013.  Annually, his “continuing education” hours are about double the minimums set by the American Institute of Architects.

Tiger sculpture


There are a few initials that appear after Joel’s name: 

AIA: American Institute of Architects; professional organization of architects in the US.

CSI: Construction Specifications Institute; for those interested in clearly and concisely stating construction requirements, learning about how to deal with common building failures, and exploring emerging materials and technologies.  [Not to be confused with CSI, the television show.]

NCARB: National Council of Architect Registration Boards; Joel’s certification by them demonstrates competence to any state where he might seek permission to practice architecture.

In addition, Joel is a member (through testing) of the International Fire Door Inspectors Association.  Fire Doors are under-appreciated and often mistreated vital building safety components.

Joel is a registered architect in Washington and Oregon.  At one time, he was registered in a number of other states: CA, CO, CT, IA, IL, IN, MA, MI, MN, MO, MS, TN, and TX.  All of those registrations were terminated in good standing – projects which they had been obtained for were complete, and more work in those foreign fields was unlikely.
Joel is a three-year participant in the Seattle Chapter, AIA’s Professional Examination Preparation training class series, giving back to, and mentoring, a future generation of architects.  Locally, he serves on the Snohomish County Board of Equalization, hearing property owners’ appeals of assessment valuations, and deliberating with colleagues to come to equitable adjustments.

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For fun? Bicycle riding (member, Randonneurs USA – long distance, self-supported cycling), organic gardening, backpacking, and scratching the family cat’s whiskers.