Preservation in Progress

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Archive for the ‘Modern Architecture/Design’ Category

Two Mid-Century Modern Commercial Buildings Nominated as Landmarks

At its December 4 meeting, the Landmarks Preservation Board (LPB) nominated two modern buildings for landmark consideration — the former Community Psychiatric Clinic in Eastlake and (by unanimous vote) the Stoneway Electric Building in Fremont. Historic Seattle strongly supports designation of both properties — the designation hearing is scheduled for January 15, 2020.

In 2001, Historic Seattle and Docomomo US/WEWA produced a popular modern architecture tour (repeated in 2004) of the Eastlake neighborhood which contains an eclectic mix of building types and styles including a collection of small scale, mid-century commercial buildings designed by some of Seattle’s most prominent architects from the era.

One of these buildings, the former Community Psychiatric Clinic building (or CPC, located at 2009 Minor Ave E), was designed by the firm of Kirk, Wallace, McKinley & Associates and was completed in 1962. It is an important and distinctive work of Paul Kirk, one of the most well-regarded architects in the Pacific Northwest. The owners of the CPC, now the Bush Roed & Hitchings building, submitted the landmark nomination application to determine its historic status as part of their due diligence in potentially selling the property. Kirk’s own firm’s architecture office is located adjacent to the south. We believe that the office, too, is landmark-eligible (it is not slated for demolition at this point and the property has a different owner).

Cars are parked beneath the Community Psychiatric Clinic, which stands up on stilts. The building is long, rectangular, and features tall windows.

The Community Psychiatric Clinic as it appeared in 1975. Courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives.

The other modern commercial building nominated on December 4 is the Stoneway Electric Building (originally Golden Rule Dairy) located at 3665 Stone Way N. Built in 1945-1946 for Golden Rule Dairy, the building has been a fixture in in the Fremont neighborhood for more than 70 years. The modern style building is restrained in its design, reflecting a time when the nation was emerging from the aftermath of World War II. The building is a good example of the style and stands out on a major street that is experiencing rapid change. The landmark nomination was submitted by a developer interested in purchasing the property for redevelopment.

A pickup truck is parked in front of the brick Stoneway Electric Building. The entrance to the building is framed by two trees without their leaves.

The Stoneway Electric Building.

Historic Seattle encourages you to support designation of these two historic modern buildings. Learn more about each property’s history and significance in the landmark nomination reports and email your comments to Landmarks Preservation Board Coordinator Erin Doherty.

King County Mid-century Modern

King County Mid-century Modern Residential Resources Context Statement

Consultants sought for preparation of a context statement for mid-century modern residential resources in King County

KC modern 2The King County Historic Preservation Program (HPP) is seeking proposals from qualified consultants to prepare a context statement for mid-century modern residential resources. The project is funded by a grant from the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP), using federal Historic Preservation Funds administered by Washington’s Certified Local Government (CLG) Program.

The statement will be used as a tool for evaluating potential National Register and local landmark properties throughout unincorporated King County and in the 20 cities that participate in the county’s Interlocal Historic Preservation Program. It will also provide a valuable tool for environmental review and compliance in King County, and serve as a model for other areas of the state. The period of study is approximately 1945 – 1975.

The consultant must demonstrate a range of skills and expertise including knowledge of regional and architectural history, specifically from the period of study; completion of context statements and survey/inventory projects in Washington State; and experience in project management.

The consultant will collaborate with the King County HPP to develop a coordinated approach to achieve project tasks. These include:

  • Identifying, documenting, and evaluating a comprehensive collection of mid-century modern single family residences that are representative of King County and its suburban cities;
  • Completing research on suburban development throughout the county during an established period of significance;
  • Completing a photo illustrated context statement that can be used to evaluate these residences for eligibility for National Register listing and county/city landmark designation, and that conforms to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historical Documentation;
  • Conducting at least one public presentation to present project findings; and
  • Completing statements of significance for up to 12 representative intensive-level Historic Property Inventory (HPI) forms.

The project will begin in January 2016 and be completed by August 28, 2016. The grant award is $16,500.

Proposals should be submitted by end of business Friday, January 8, 2016. Proposals should include a brief summary of the contractor’s previous experience related to the scope of work and tasks described above; a breakdown of personnel responsible for each task along with associated costs; a bid quote for completing the project; and a statement confirming contractor’s ability to complete the tasks within the specified timeframe. For questions, contact Todd Scott at or (206) 477-4545.

Proposals can be mailed, hand-delivered, or emailed:
King County Historic Preservation Program
Attention: Todd Scott, Historic Preservation Architect
201 S Jackson, Suite 700
Seattle, WA 98104

Photos courtesy of King County Historic Preservation Program

Mercer Island and Kirkland Modern

Mercer-ModTwo upcoming presentations will highlight the rich legacy of mid-century modern residential design in cities that experienced rapid growth in the 1950s and 60s.

On Monday, September 21 at 1 pm, The Mercer Island Historical Society hosts Chris Moore, Executive Director of the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, Michael Houser, Architectural Historian with the Washington Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation, and Todd Scott, Preservation Architect with the King County Historic Preservation Program. They will show examples of Pacific Northwest Modernism, discuss the tear-down trend, and explore strategies for preserving and honoring Mercer Island’s built environment. The presentation will take place at the Mercer Island Community Center at 8236 SE 24th Street, Mercer Island. For more information about the discussion, contact Chris Moore at

On Monday, September 28 at 7 pm, the City of Kirkland will host a special meeting focused on “Kirkland Modern.” Preservation consultant Mimi Sheridan will discuss her research on mid-century houses designed by Paul Kirk, Harry Cummings, Gene Zema and Gordon Varey. She’ll describe some of Kirkland’s most interesting subdivisions and the variety of house styles that shaped these suburban neighborhoods. The meeting will take place at Heritage Hall at 203 Market Street, Kirkland.

Top left photo courtesy of Mimi Sheridan.

Top right: Architect’s rendering of the Stixrood Residence on Mercer Island, built in 1958 and designed by the architectural firm of Tucker & Shields. Image courtesy of Sandy Condiotty.

Save the Nuclear Reactor

Help Historic Seattle and other preservation advocates save the UW Nuclear Reactor Building!

The University of Washington recently issued a request for comments for the scope of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that they are preparing for a proposed project—a new Computer Science and Engineering building (CSE II). The UW’s preferred site for redevelopment includes the National Register of Historic Places-listed Nuclear Reactor Building (aka More Hall Annex).

The comment period deadline for EIS scoping has been extended to April 2, 2015 (from March 18).

Please send your comments to the UW to voice your support for preserving the Nuclear Reactor Building and urge the university to consider alternatives to demolition. We believe there is a potential “win-win” alternative that allows for construction of the new CSE II building and preservation/adaptive reuse of the historic structure.

Contact the UW today! Urge the UW to broaden the EIS Scope to:

  • Identify additional alternative sites (the university is considering only two sites at this time); and
  • Include a preservation alternative that incorporates the Nuclear Reactor Building in the project

In addition, request that the UW hold a public meeting to further discuss the scope of the EIS. The State encourages lead agencies (the UW is the lead agency in this project) to engage the public early and throughout the EIS process, rather than just do the minimum to meet requirements.

Send your comments via email by Thursday, April 2, 2015, to Jan Arntz at Ms. Arntz is the Environmental/Land Use Compliance Officer at the UW Capital Projects Office. For questions, please contact Ms. Arntz at 206-221-4319 or via email.

Download the EIS Scoping notice here.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to advocate for the preservation of the Nuclear Reactor Building! If you’d like to get involved with this advocacy effort, please contact Eugenia Woo, Director of Preservation Services, Historic Seattle, at or 206.622.6952, ext 245.

Photo by John Shea – Heart Bomb photo event, February 13, 2015

Nuclear Reactor Building Love

Historic Seattle and friends will be showing our love for the Nuclear Reactor Building (aka More Hall Annex) on the University of Washington campus at noon on Friday, February 13.  We’ll be taking a group photo and showing off our homemade valentines to the building, also known as “heart bombing.” Heart bombing is a tradition that’s only a few years old, and is a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day through public displays of affection for endangered and underappreciated places.

Please join us and bring your own homemade valentine to the building! Here’s a campus map—look for More Hall Annex.

The Nuclear Reactor Building is endangered because the UW is proposing to demolish the National Register of Historic Places-listed building and replace it with a new Computer Science and Engineering facility.

Find out more about heart bombing from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Photo: Abby Inpanbutr

Modern Happenings

Egg chair and ottoman by Arne Jacobsen, designed in 1958.

Egg chair and ottoman by Arne Jacobsen, designed in 1958. Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art

Check out these Modern architecture and design-related events!

May 16 – August 31, 2014: Danish Modern Exhibit

The Nordic Heritage Museum goes “Mad Men” with the eye-catching and interactive exhibition Danish Modern: Design for Living. On view from May 16 through August 31, the exhibit highlights the unique furnishing designed and made in Denmark during the 1950s and 1960s. Learn more.

Exhibition–Related Programs at the Nordic Heritage Museum:

PechaKucha Night: Living Loving Nordic Design: Thursday, June 5, 6:00 p.m.
PechaKucha Night Seattle returns to the Museum, this time focusing on Scandinavian Design, inspired by the Danish Modern exhibit now on view. First formed in Tokyo in 2003, this 20×20 format features simple presentations of 20 images shown for 20 seconds accompanying presenters’ talks. These informal and fun gatherings have since spread around the world.

Docomomo WEWA Night: Wednesday, June 25, 7:00 p.m.
An evening of Danish design, remarks, reception, and special viewing of the exhibit Danish Modern: Design for Living. This event is co-sponsored by Docomomo WEWA, a local community of individuals who share a passion for Northwest Modernism. Their mission is to promote appreciation and awareness of Modern architecture and design in Western Washington through education and advocacy. $5 suggested donation.


June 13 and 14: Mid-century Modern Resources Workshop

The Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) along with the City of Everett is proud to bring a workshop to both sides of the state on Modern Resources. Everett, through a CLG grant, contracted with the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions to plan the workshop.  Wade Broadhead from Colorado and Professor Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll from the University of North Carolina will join Washington State’s Architectural Historian, Michael Houser, to explore how to recognize, identify, evaluate, and apply the Secretary of the Interior Standards to Post WWII Resources.

The workshops will be held in both Spokane and Everett.  The Spokane workshop will be held on Friday, June 13th from 9 am to 3 pm at the Spokane City Hall Council Chambers.  The Everett workshop will be held on Saturday, June 14th from 9 am to 3 pm in the Everett Performing Arts Center.

For more information and to register online, go to DAHP’s website.


Saturday, June 14: Modern Queen Anne Architectural Tour

On June 14, from 2 pm to about 6 pm, the Queen Anne Historical Society will offer Modern Queen Anne, a new tour that focuses on two mid-century structures with unrivaled views, Canlis and the Swedish Club, while stopping by five recently completed homes to learn from the architects who designed them about program goals and the place of their work in the contemporary idiom. (Interiors are not on the tour). The automobile tour starts at 2 at Canlis. The bike version begins at 1:30 at the Swedish Club.

View the poster for this Modern Tour.

Join the tour by sending an RSVP to or purchase tickets now at BrownPaperTickets. Members $15; non-members $20.