The International Coalition of Art Deco Societies (ICADS) has established April 2021 as World Art Deco Month, culminating in World Art Deco Day on April 28th. That date was the grand opening day of the 1925 Paris Exposition of Decorative and Industrial Arts, the exposition which had great impact on the design world for years to come. ICADS encourages appreciation, education, preservation, advocacy, and stewardship of built heritage and culture of the 1920s into the 1940s. The Coalition has grown to 30 American and foreign societies and hosts every-other-year conferences in far-flung corners of the world. The 2025 Congress is planned in Paris to celebrate the Exposition centennial Learn more: http://www.icads.info/
Join retired Program Director Lawrence Kreisman as he takes a look at some of the leading figures in the development of regional architecture and interiors during the Jazz Age in Art Deco to Modernism: Interwar Architecture in Seattle. The period between the two world wars was one of economic and social turmoil, but also one of great creativity in art, architecture, and the decorative arts. In the 1920s and early 1930s, Seattle skyscrapers, clubs, and corporate headquarters were being designed and built to compete aesthetically with those in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. The local architects of the 1411 Fourth Avenue and Great Northern buildings, Washington Athletic Club, Bon Marché department store, Seattle Art Museum, and Harborview and U.S. Marine hospitals borrowed from the French decorative art vocabulary popularized at the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs, visits to major cities, and ready access to contemporary design journals.
In the Northern Life Tower, Exchange Building, Fraser Patterson department store, National Bank of Commerce, and other work, they incorporated distinct Pacific Northwest images which were interpreted by local sculptors and craftspeople in glass, bronze, plaster, stone, and terra cotta. Notable among these motifs were water, mountains, trees, and plants that would have been recognizable to residents of the region. They distinguish Seattle’s Art Deco buildings from those built elsewhere and provide a valuable lesson to today’s designers about tapping local and regional characteristics to develop unique and memorable architecture.
Lawrence Kreisman, Hon. AIA Seattle, was Historic Seattle’s Program Director for 20 years and Director of the Seattle Architecture Foundation tour program from 1990-2003. He has been recognized for bringing public attention to the Northwest’s built heritage and its preservation through courses, tours, exhibitions, lectures, articles, and 11 books. His publications include Art Deco Seattle; Apartments by Anhalt; The Stimson Legacy: Architecture in the Urban West; The Bloedel Reserve: Gardens in the Forest; Made to Last: Historic Preservation in Seattle and King County, and Dard Hunter: The Graphic Works. He was editor and contributor to Tradition and Change on Seattle’s First Hill and co-author and curator, with Glenn Mason, of The Arts and Crafts Movement in the Pacific Northwest. Kreisman wrote design features for The Seattle Times Pacific Northwest Magazine from 1988-2012 and for Preservation, Old House Interiors, Old House Journal, Arts & Crafts Homes and the Revival, and Style 1900.
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Image rendering by Chesley Bonestell:
Northern Life Tower (now Seattle Tower)
A.H. Albertson, Architect
Jos. W. Wilson, Paul Richardson, Associates
Architectural Forum, June 1930
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Historic Seattle’s virtual programming is funded in part by a grant from the Eldridge Campbell Stockton Fund for Washington of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.