Born and raised in Tacoma, Robert Allan Chervenak graduated from the University of Washington School of Architecture in 1951. Following his service in World War II, he was employed by a variety of architectural firms including the office of Mock & Morrison in Tacoma, Miller & Ahlson in Seattle, Mithun & Associates in Bellevue, and Young, Richardson, Carleton & Detlie in Seattle.
In 1955, Chervenak formed a partnership with fellow University of Washington graduates Austin Grant and Ross Copeland. Together, the firm of Grant, Copeland & Chervenak made a significant impact on the built environment in the Seattle area. The firm specialized in religious structures and designed a number of award winning projects including St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (1962) in Seattle (a 1963 Seattle Chapter AIA Honor Award winner), and Our Savior’s Lutheran Church (1968) in Everett (also an Honor Award winner). Other churches include Gloria Day Lutheran Church (1969) in Olympia, Pilgrim Lutheran Church (1968) and Christ the King Lutheran Church in Bellevue, and St. Paul’s of Shorewood Lutheran Church in Seattle.
In 1966, the firm received a National AIA Merit Award for their design of the Hugo Winkenwerder Forest Science Laboratory at the University of Washington. The heavy timber, multi-story building was a celebration of wood construction. Other works by the firm include the Myron Carroll House in Seattle, Oroville State Bank in Oroville, an elementary school and post office in Tonasket, Manson High School, and the King County Medical Service Corporation Building (1964) in Seattle.
In addition to his practice, Chervenak taught as an associate professor at the University of Washington from 1960 to 1974. He was awarded an AIA fellowship n 1975. Chervenak passed away on May 8, 2010 in Seattle.
By Michael Houser, State Architectural Historian - May 2010