Magellan Architects continues to excel

Redmond-based Magellan Architects has been honored with a 2008 University of Washington Business of Tomorrow Award for its success as a minority-owned firm.

Pedro Castro has thrived as owner of Magellan Architects

Pedro Castro has thrived as owner of Magellan Architects

Minority-owned firm honored for its success

Redmond-based Magellan Architects has been honored with a 2008 University of Washington Business of Tomorrow Award for its success as a minority-owned firm.

“There are not a lot of women or non-whites in architecture. It has been kind of an elite profession,” explained owner Pedro Castro, who is of Portuguese descent and grew up in Brazil but now calls himself a diehard Redmond resident.

Castro moved to the United States in 1987, met his wife in California and earned his master’s degree in architecture at Washington State University. His wife was a Redmond native whose family owned Art’s Food Center. When the couple married and started a family, they planted roots on Redmond’s Education Hill, “to be near grandparents,” he said.

He worked for a small architecture firm in Redmond and then at Bellevue’s Mulvanny G2 Architecture before starting his own firm in 2001, in a space near Anderson Park.

Reiterating the exclusive nature of architecture, Castro remarked, “I want to be a personable architect. I saw service-oriented businesses like Nordstrom as a model. Provide service and let design follow. Make it not about ego, but about pleasing the client. The client should drive the design.”

Magellan’s 16-person staff includes several women who work part-time “so they can put family first. We want a corporate feel in a family business,” said Castro. “And I want to be THE Redmond architect.”

He’s done projects for Microsoft, Redmond Town Center, Lake Washington School District, Emerald Heights, Valley Furniture, Velocity Sports and many more in the community.

“I try to be connected. It’s not about receiving, but giving,” Castro added, referring to local volunteer work and an annual pro bono project.

“I did the ball wall at Horace Mann Elementary, have done some small residential projects,” he noted.

Castro’s personal goals for 2009 and beyond are “to create the next entrepreneurs in this area … and to expand my business, not necessarily in size, but in other locations. Open other fronts, maybe in Portland, maybe one in Brazil to assist American companies. And be a role model.”

An antique telephone, mounted on the wall of his Redmond office, is a conversation piece to illustrate how far he has come in his line of work.

As an architecture student in Brazil, where it was hard to get a phone line, “I ran a line out of my grandparents’ home. When the phone rang, my grandma would answer and people thought it was my secretary. They thought I had really made it,” he said, laughing.

In addition to the UW award, Magellan Architects has been honored with a City of Redmond Design Award in 2003 and as the 2005 Greater Redmond Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year.

Magellan Architects is located at 8383 158th Ave. NE, Suite 280. For information, call (425) 885-4300 or visit

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