Thank you to Mithun for cosponsoring ARCADE's website and e-newsletter.
In May ARCADE celebrated the launch of issue 36.1, ARCADE at 35: A Retrospective. Party guests mingled at the new Center for Wooden Boats Wagner Education Center. Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate with us, to our event sponsors, our volunteers, and to all who contributed to this issue.
Thank you to our event sponsors KPFF Consulting Engineers and Olson Kundig and venue host Center for Wooden Boats! Thanks also to Figurehead Brewing Company for the beer donation, David Brown International for being our wine sponsor, and Deirdre Doyle Real Estate for being our portable patron. And thank you to grantmakers 4Culture and Seattle Office of Arts & Culture for supporting ARCADE.
Here are a few shots from the launch party. Visit our Facebook page to see more photos. Share, tag and enjoy!
Now in its 36th year, ARCADE is building a community that cares deeply about design, art and culture in our region and is seeking qualified individuals with experience and passion for design to serve on our Board of Trustees.
Between our print publication, e-newsletter, website, social media network and online calendar of events, ARCADE has established a strong and respected presence in the Northwest design and art communities. As the organization works to grow its diverse programs and content, it is vital to expand the diversity of the Board’s expertise and experience. ARCADE is interested in professionals in the fields of real estate, technology, law, education, fundraising, non-profit management and journalism, and in professionals from all design disciplines, including architecture, engineering, urban planning, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, landscape design and interaction design.
ARCADE’s future success depends on dedicated members of this working board who can work collaboratively with staff and volunteers. Interested candidates should share an excitement for ARCADE’s mission, be inspired to participate in creating its programming and be willing to promote ARCADE’s importance within their circle of influence and beyond.
To share your interest, please contact the ARCADE board development co-chairs, Ray Calabro ([email protected]) and Jason Bergevin ([email protected]). You may also reach out to Executive Director Kelly Rodriguez ([email protected]).
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, ARCADE’s mission is to reinforce the principle that thoughtful design at every scale of human endeavor improves our quality of life.
ARCADE fulfills its mission through its award-winning magazine; events, educational lectures, panel discussions, salons; and web presence, which includes its website, e-newsletter, online calendar of Northwest design events and growing social media community.
Thank you to PAE Engineers for cosponsoring ARCADE's website and e-newsletter.
Thank you to Mithun for cosponsoring ARCADE's website and e-newsletter.
Join ARCADE on Thursday, May 31, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. as we celebrate the release of our spring 2018 issue, ARCADE at 35: A Retrospective, at the Center for Wooden Boats Wagner Education Center (1002 Valley St, Seattle, 98109). The stunning new building, currently under construction, was designed by Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig, and its core and shell was built by Schuchart. A $20 suggested donation at the door will bring beverages, light fare from Kaspars Catering & Special Events, musical entertainment by Reflect / Adam Pazan, your copy of ARCADE, and a warm philanthropic rush — it supports the creation of ARCADE's magazine and programs.
In addition to our usual launch festivities, we've got something extra special planned. In honor of ARCADE's 35th anniversary, we'll be unveiling our first commemorative ARCADE poster!
With a $100 donation, you'll reserve an advance copy of our limited-edition, A1-size (23.4" x 33.1") poster designed by Sean Wolcott, founder of Rationale. We'll also offer posters signed by renowned ARCADE feature editors with a $250 donation gift. Donations may be made now by check (mailed to ARCADE, 1201 Alaskan Way, Pier 56, Ste 200, Seattle, 98101), at the event, or anytime online through June 30th. You don't want to miss this opportunity to take home a piece of ARCADE history! Email [email protected] for more details.
See you on May 31st! Here's a handy map showing the party location, the South Lake Union Streetcar stop, and parking options.
Thank you to our event sponsors:
Thank you to our event host:
Thank you to portable patron:
Thank you to wine sponsor:
Thank you to beverage donor:
Thank you to grantmakers:
Can't make it to the party to pick up your copy of ARCADE? Subscribe online and never miss an issue.
Editor’s note: This is the third and final abridged installment of “Northwest Style: What Is It? Who Does It? Is It Dead? Does It Matter?,” which appeared in the October/November 1989 issue of ARCADE. For the original article, editor Kathleen Randall and guest editors Michael Jensen and Lisa Kennan-Meyer collected thoughts from over thirty Northwest architects, architectural theorists, and architectural historians about the history and value of northwest regional architecture. For more information on the original piece, please see Part 1 of the series, and find Part 2 here.
“Is it dead? No—not dead. If anything it’s just sleeping and about to wake up.
“Why waking up? I think that at long last we’re beginning to see our region as a place with tremendous and unique intrinsic value. We seem to be getting over our long-lived inferiority complex. Our newfound popularity, our improving self-image and the growing respect for nature and our environment give validity to some of the attitudes of the so-called Northwest Style.
“As the world gets smaller—and in some ways more the same—we feel the need to declare our uniqueness even more.
“I see the Northwest Style as an attitude. Some aspects of that attitude I find valid are respect for nature and surroundings, gentle to the land, easy on resources, colors that blend or complement—but don’t disrupt, sensitivity to our muted light, response to our misty climate. There are a variety of ways to express these things. I think the attitude of trying to respond to the uniqueness of the Northwest is what is important.
“I don’t believe that styles just start and stop—they evolve and branch off in various directions. When I began in architecture, in the ’60s, I was drawn to the branch of the Northwest Style that seemed to be a mix with the International Style. Some of the work of Roland Terry, Paul Kirk and Arthur Erickson went in this direction. For some reason I like the stronger, cleaner lines. I like to draw a straight line under our hills and furry foliage—give it a base, a reference point. I see the evolution of the Northwest Style as having the most potential. Residential vocabulary builds easily into commercial or institutional. By joining with the International Style the Northwest Style somehow builds better into the world, and into the future, and still retains its uniqueness.
“The planet needs us right now. We need to popularize the integration of our lush foliage into architecture. We need to teach people to love their plants. That attitude grows right out of the old Northwest Style. I think it’s another reason the Northwest Style is about to wake up. And we need to pay attention.
“Love the Earth; Love Nature, worship it, be part of it and be kind to it. To me, that is what the Northwest Style is all about.”
Jim Olson, AIA, is a principal of Olson/Sundberg Architects in Seattle.
[Editor’s note: Jim Olson, FAIA, is a partner at Olson Kundig.]
“There are two sides of regionalism. One is attitudinal. The attitude of cultural self-determination—feeling confident and clear enough to decide as a region what you want to do, rather [than] taking your cues from supposedly more sophisticated centers—San Francisco, New York or LA. In terms of travel and communication it is easier now for regional areas to assert themselves. Seattle is less remote now than it has ever been. It is a matter of chutzpah, and gumption and taking the lead. I think this area is hitting its stride and developing more and more confidence to speak in its own voices and to assert itself. It’s been a relatively quiet, laid-back culture here, never a region to beat its chest. It has always seemed to admire quiet confidence over brash celebrity or bravado.
“There is a second side to critical regionalism which has to do with characteristics that might be common to any regionalist architecture. First I’d like to differentiate between regional and regionalist. In no way does this department aspire to be regional. It aspires to be regionalist. Or at least l aspire for it to be regionalist. Regionalist is concerned with local and regional issues and ideas wherever it might be, Timbuktu or Mobile, Alabama. The idea of celebrating what is unique about a place is important. Regionalism is an international idea, not a provincial idea. I think that there are some common values any regionalist architecture would have: love of place, love of history, a love of nature, love of craft and a love of limits.
“Regionalism in architecture is a timely idea because there has been a proliferation of mass culture in the last couple of decades. In some ways it is a reaction to the mass culture that has swept and cheapened this country. Critical regionalism is an act of resistance against mass and homogenized culture. It is pitted against television, the computer, the telephone and the whole technocracy, and I think those technologies are winning. This is somewhat like the Arts and Crafts movement at the end of the nineteenth century, which tried to reverse the industrialization and technocratic society that was beginning to emerge. In a sense, regionalism is a resistance like the Arts and Crafts movement. It may ultimately carry the day, but I don’t think it is now.
“So critical regionalism I see as the unsentimental celebration of what is unique to a local place and its culture—climate, geography, building materials, building practices as well as culture, ethnicity, politics, history and mythology. And that is easier said than done. It is a lot easier to talk about this than to express it in architecture.”
Doug Kelbaugh, FAIA, is chair of the Department of Architecture at the University of Washington.
[Editor’s note: Doug Kelbaugh is a professor and former dean at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.]
“What is it?"
“A natural, but intelligent, response to a need as opposed to self-conscious overdesign."
“Has it died out or is it still evolving?"
“The interest and intellectual pursuit remain."
“Which projects exhibit its features?"
“Storey, early Belluschi, Paul Kirk, early Ralph Anderson."
“Is anyone currently working in what you would define as a Northwest regional style?"
“The hop kiln builders of the Yakima Valley."
“Is the work limited to suburban and rural settings?"
“The roots are rural. Suburban is a self-conscious overlay.”
Gordon Walker, AIA, is a longtime Northwest architect currently with NBBJ in San Francisco.
[Editor’s note: Gordon Walker is a consulting principal at Mithun.]
“I think the primary thing was the region and its characteristics: the terrain, the growth, the rain ... weather is a big factor and the fact that we had certain materials that were on hand here for us to use, wood being the primary thing. Where else in the US is there a better supply of building material than there is in the Northwest?
“It took a lot of time and a lot of training on our part to indoctrinate general contractors to the type of thing we wanted. If we would get three or four general contractors to bid on an exposed wood house we were doing well. A lot of them were afraid because of the labor costs. It is more costly to expose framing. Nowadays it’s gone.
“I’ve always liked working with wood; even at the time I was going to school, I was building actual buildings. Once you start working in wood, actually doing it yourself, you become more aware of the possibilities, and the limits, as to what framing should be.
“I started looking at Japanese architecture, which has been built in wood for hundreds, well, thousands of years. And they knew how to handle wood, they knew all its possibilities.
“Even when we were in school they seemed to feel that everyone had to be doing the same thing throughout the US, throughout the world. My question is why—why are we so concerned at having a common denominator, why stifle individualism in architecture? Why are we hell bent to make everything the same?
“Things are different here. This is one of the reasons we live here, I guess, and our architecture should reflect the region.
“I think it’s just another revolution of the wheel. It’s just too bad that some of us who have developed something—and it seems that some people are aware of it—it’s too bad that has to die and you start all over again. Probably the new generation will develop something eventually that may fit the region or fit the economic circumstances—that will make the puzzle work.”
Gene Zema graduated from the University of Washington and practiced architecture in Seattle for many years. He is an expert on Japanese art and antiquities.
[Editor’s note: Gene Zema is retired and resides on Whidbey Island.]
“I think one of the things of the Northwest Style, and it’s an utterly critical thing, besides the humanism, is [that] the architect who does it—and it’s usually done by small offices for this reason—has got to have confidence in himself to say to hell with all this bullshit, close the magazines, and just follow his intuition. Go out and live on the site for a while and analyze the needs of the client and come up with what Wright used to say—‘find the solution in the problem.’ I think that’s basic to my work and I think anyone who works in the Northwest Style would start with the problem and not with some image or metaphor or little gimmick that they think will win them an award or get them published in a magazine.
“I would say that if there is a Northwest Style that reflects the traditional, indigenous building of the Northwest, which would be a very gray climate with a winter monsoon, it would need weather protection and glass. We have rain and we have gray winters and we have the wood and so if you reflect the environment then that’s what we’re talking about.”
Arne Bystrom, FAIA, is a practicing architect in Seattle.
[Editor’s note: Arne Bystrom passes away in 2017.]
“I think one of the basic issues is money. The budgets today don’t allow for that kind of work. And when the money is there, very often there isn’t time.”
George Suyama, AIA, is principal of George Suyama Architects in Seattle.
[Editor’s note: George Suyama, FAIA, is a partner at Suyama Peterson Deguchi.]
Thank you to everyone for contributing to ARCADE through GiveBIG 2018! For 35 years, ARCADE has been made possible through the support of our passionate community of design enthusiasts, and your generosity continues to inspire us. And a huge thank you to Seattle Foundation for supporting Seattle-area nonprofits by organizing this event! What an amazing time of philanthropy!
We are thrilled to announce that the community contributed $24,925 to ARCADE through GiveBIG 2018. Thanks for your amazing generosity and support! Thank you to Krekow Jennings, The Miller Hull Partnership, and Schuchart/Dow for providing a generous match.
The support we’ve received through GiveBIG will help this organization continue its important work! Thank you for joining us in inciting daring, interdisciplinary discussions about design in the Northwest (and beyond!).
If you didn't get a chance to give to ARCADE via GiveBIG but would still like to contribute, you can donate to ARCADE online via our partner Network for Good.
Again, thank you!
—The ARCADE Team
TODAY, Wednesday, 9 May, ARCADE is participating in GiveBIG, the Seattle Foundation’s annual online charitable giving event.
ARCADE is celebrating has been celebrating its 35th anniversary over the past year. GiveBIG and help ARCADE continue its important work!
ARCADE depends on $140,000 of donations annually from people like you. We've set an ambitious goal to raise $10,000 through GiveBIG to bolster our publication, website, events, and partnerships. In honor of our 35th anniversary, please consider making a donation to ARCADE of $35 or more. Whether you give $35, 350, or $3,500 know that your contribution is integral to ARCADE's work.
And this year, when you GiveBIG to ARCADE, you will double your impact! All GiveBIG gifts to ARCADE will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000. Thank you to Krekow Jennings, The Miller Hull Partnership, and Schuchart/Dow for providing this generous match.
Thank you! You make ARCADE's work possible!
—The ARCADE Team
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Editor’s note: This is the second abridged installment of “Northwest Style: What Is It? Who Does It? Is It Dead? Does It Matter?,” which appeared in the October/November 1989 issue of ARCADE. For the original article, editor Kathleen Randall and guest editors Michael Jensen and Lisa Kennan-Meyer collected thoughts from over thirty Northwest architects, architectural theorists, and architectural historians about the history and value of northwest regional architecture. For more information on the original piece, please see Part 1 of the series.
“The question of architects doing work in their own place transcends the question of style. As a matter of fact, I think this whole international discussion of style is superficial, irrelevant. Regionalism matters because to do anything worthwhile you have to know the subject deeply. Art just doesn’t come flying in on the wings of a raven, it comes from a deeply felt understanding of all the conditions. It is easy enough to understand the conditions of site, climate, local materials. The things that are hard to come by are the feeling for the area, the social and cultural character and qualities of a place.
“The architects, rather, the work that I respect most, is that of those who worked here at the tum of the century or in the ’20s. It is true that looking back, much of it was early modern work. But the work that was inspired by modernism is much less successful than that which grew out of the region itself. I’m thinking of Ellsworth Storey’s cottages particularly, and some early work of Joe Wilson, Kirtland Cutter, J. W. B. Wilcox. You’ve asked if the [Henry M. Jackson Federal Building] has regional characteristics. It does seem to fit its location pretty well and I’m pleased with it close-up, but I don’t much like it from a distance—It’s rather dull. That is reproof to me for my lack of adequate vision or energy.
“I think AT&T Gateway Tower is more of its place in that its base, its roof, its sides, each different from the others, respond more clearly to the urban context, the site and the climate. Its profile relates to region and site—it steps down on the west toward the water, somewhat recalling Seattle’s hills sloping to the Sound, while on the east, it rises up high to the top suggesting the mountains in the distance. The gabled glass roof, curved at the top, shows at once that it rains in Seattle. I hope there is no hint of fashion in it. I’m not immune to that, of course, even while trying to steer clear and do something lasting.
“Ralph Anderson seemed to have been able to do reasonable work, fitting the site and the climate right from the beginning. I don’t know where he got his wisdom; mine didn’t come from the same place. I went back to Harvard and studied with Gropius and Breuer and knew those guys and came back brainwashed—as they still do from Harvard today. It was very slow coming—that appreciation of what we have here. Whereas Ralph, and people like Storey, seemed to have it from the beginning.
“I think the important thing, and I bet you get the best answers from [Ibsen] Nelsen since he has thought deeply about it, is that we understand what we are doing here, what we are about and that we do it with our own people. Someone said once, ‘A fool can put on his own clothes better than a wise man can do it for him.’ If we are going to do anything characteristic in this area, we are going to have to do it ourselves, make our own mistakes, be responsible for them, build the area in our own likeness—nobody else can do that for us.”
Fred Bassetti, FAIA, designer, theorist, northwest native—since 1947.
[Editor’s note: Fred Bassetti passed away in 2013.]
L. JANE HASTINGS
“I think one of the things that makes us different is the relationship of the architecture to the site and the fact that we have the most glorious sites in the world to deal with. Also, I think that scale is terribly important. So it is materials, site relation and scale—and another thing, the use of light.
“I don’t think that the Northwest Style has gone away because it is a reflection of materials. I do think that the materials are becoming harder to come by and are more expensive. We don’t, unfortunately, see as much wood as we used to, but I think we are sleeping. It is a little bit like the Chanel suit or the shirtwaist dress—they never go out. Good design never goes out of style.
“Another thing is all the talk about the fact that the Northwest was influenced by the Japanese. That is OK, in a way, because we have similar climates, similar materials, lush greenery. There are lots of things in common, but I also think perhaps it is more a response to Scandinavian influence. The love of wood and the warmth of wood. They came here to fish and log and they knew how to use wood and they had lots of it. But I think we have always been [identified with] the Asian influence, although so many of our forefathers were the Ballard boys. There is no question about it. No matter how far you are away from ‘home’ little tidbits, things from a part of your upbringing, come through.”
L. Jane Hastings, FAIA, is a Seattle native and a University of Washington Alumni: She has had her own practice for over thirty years.
[Editor’s note: L. Jane Hastings closed her practice in 2002.]
“I’m one of the strong believers in a Northwest Style. It has to be residential architecture, the environment must be intact, it doesn’t work in an urban setting. It’s an attempt to not break the natural continuity of the setting, in opposition to Modernism or Postmodernism. In the Northwest Style, environment is primary and architecture plays a second position.
“Stick construction is the least expensive, most economical, most honest construction method. It makes a very honest, honorable, logical type of structure and it will come and go in popularity. The Northwest Style is a little too honest; it’s not glitzy. It’s too quiet and out of pace with this great consumptive journey we seem to be on.”
Ralph Anderson graduated from the University of Washington’s School of Architecture in 1952. He has practiced architecture for over 36 years as principal of Anderson Koch & Smith.
[Editor’s note: Ralph Anderson passed away in 2010.]
“It troubles me that some of us would like to force a false uniqueness on ourselves just so we can have a stronger identity. People strive to be special. In terms of regional architecture the uniqueness should be a result of a unique set of circumstances, or a unique place, or a unique culture—or a combination of all those things. And if the culture really isn’t that unique, or the circumstances and the limitations, then it’s quite all right to claim that here is such a situation when there isn’t, I suppose.
“The fear that I would have in giving too much emphasis to regionalism or to a particular Northwest Style would be that it tends to promote a kind of provincialism where there is the idea that somehow we shouldn’t be thinking individually for ourselves, but we should all gather together now and somehow try to live in buildings more alike. That somehow, that is going to make this area more attractive. Those people that feel that way feel that unity is the great god of design rather than diversity and maybe a richness that might come from diversity. Diversity and diverse attitudes—and this would go for designing buildings as well as doing anything else—is probably a more healthy viewpoint than one that would insist upon unity at all costs.
“I would say to the question ‘Do we have a unique architecture?’—Well sort of. We live at a certain latitude: we’re not at the north pole, we’re not at the equator; we are half way in between.
“We have a relatively mild climate. When climate has been a factor it has been in places where the climate has been more severe. We, on the other hand, have a pretty rugged terrain around the Seattle area, at least west of the Cascades. It has precluded our easily using generic or traditional building forms.
“Limitations or some severe unusual situation will quite often spawn a unique solution. Uniquely regional architecture of the past was nearly always a result of severe limitations—of materials, moisture or lack of same, sun, very rugged terrain—any and all extreme situations.”
Wendell Lovett, FAIA, has been practicing architecture since 1951, specializing in residential work.
[Editor’s note: Wendell Lovett passed away in 2016.]