Seattle Center Historic Landmark Study

seattle center landmark study

Seattle Center recently released the Seattle Center Historic Landmark Study, prepared by the joint consultant team of Artifacts Consulting, Inc. of Tacoma and This report is important because: a) it provides a comprehensive evaluation of historic resources at Seattle Center within the context of the site’s World’s Fair history and its history since the Fair; and b) serves as a solid planning tool for Seattle Center moving forward. The study clearly states which buildings, structures, features, etc. are significant and and which resources are eligible for Seattle Landmark nomination.

Download a pdf of the Seattle Center Historic Landmark Study. (7.1MB)

The study calls out two clusters of resources based on “small historic concentration areas encompassing a concentration of properties designed by a single architecture firm.” According to the report, “The Paul Thiry (Thiry) concentration area around KeyArena and the Kirk, Wallace, & McKinley (Kirk) concentration area around the Playhouse and the Exhibition Hall present the most uniform groupings of properties.”

Landmark nominations for each cluster is a possibility and may be more beneficial for Seattle Center’s planning purposes. The study also discusses historic district nomination and individual nominations. In MAin2’s opinion, given the Seattle Center’s association with the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and the number of resources that would be considered “contributing” to a historic district, it makes more sense to have a historic district rather than individual landmarks dotted throughout the site. If the existing designated landmarks (Space Needle, Pacific Science Center, Horiuchi Mural, Monorail and Kobe Bell) are incorporated into a potential district, then a stronger case can be made. In a designated historic district, changes to the site (including new construction) and not just the buildings would be reviewed by the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board (LPB). Individual landmarks are reviewed in isolation.

Seattle Center will be presenting the study and findings to the LPB on Wednesday, May 1, 2013, during a regular Board meeting. The meeting is open to the public and begins at 3:30 pm. It is held in the Seattle Municipal Building, 700 Fifth Avenue, 40th Floor, Room 4060. The item is far down on the agenda. Download the LPB agenda.

For further reading, Knute Berger wrote about the study in his Crosscut article, “Seattle Center–Is Historic District Designation Ahead?”

Here’s the Seattle Center Historic Landmark Study Press Release.