DOWNTOWN TOURS

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DOWNTOWN TOURS

Our Downtown tours begin in various locations. Please review your confirmation email to ensure that you have the right address. Most downtown tours are approximately two hours in length, unless otherwise noted below. Advance registration is strongly encouraged; walk-ups are limited to space available. Private tours are also available, email info@seattlearchitecture.org for more information. Tours are $18 in advance/$10 for members/$25 cash, day of event. Online registration is handled through Bold Type Tickets. For more information see our Tours FAQ page.

Diamonds & Gold: The Art Deco Skyscraper Northwest Style

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Take a trip back in time to the Roaring 20s. Following the horrors of World War I, architects began fusing modern structural advances with beautiful, lively, organic designs to create the style known as Art Deco. On this tour, we’ll go back in time to visit lush lobbies and ornate commercial buildings to learn how technology, archeology and French design influences some of Seattle’s most impressive buildings. You’ll discover diamonds and gold. And you’ll see how Northwest imagery was incorporated into the Deco elegance and innovation of these architectural gems. Featured stops Exchange Building, the Seattle Tower and Washington Athletic Club.

This tour will leave from inside the Rainier Tower Lobby located at 1301 Fifth Avenue Seattle, WA 98101.

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Greatest Hits: Chart Toppers and Heart-Stoppers

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It’s a new riff on the city as we focus on the construction, context, and culture which shaped our skyline, from golden oldies like Kirtland Cutter’s Rainier Club to popular favorites like the Rem Koolhaas’ asymmetric, cantilevered Central Library. You’ll develop an appreciation for the social forces which shaped Seattle and our built environment. Featured stops include the Fifth & Madison Condominium/901 Fifth Avenue Plaza and Seattle City Hall.


This tour will leave from inside the Rainier Tower Lobby located at 1301 Fifth Avenue Seattle, WA 98101.

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Architecture 101: Windows on Seattle’s Style

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Is God really in the details? Find out as we focus on design elements of buildings ranging from English Gothic to Brutalism and from Beaux Arts to Modernism. Construction techniques, trends in aesthetics and functional considerations of windows and views contributed to these structures. You will explore how the use and incorporation of glass reflects changing societal trends. Featured stops include the Financial Center, the Plymouth Congregational Church and the Fairmont Olympic Hotel.

This tour will leave from inside the Rainier Tower Lobby located at 1301 Fifth Avenue Seattle, WA 98101.

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Design Details: Lions, Griffins & Walruses, Oh My!

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Engineering makes a building stand up, but intricate adornments and elaborate embellishments makes one stand out. Take a walk through Seattle’s design history by taking a close look at the details that give a building its personality. Develop an appreciation for and understanding of materials from types of stone, terra cotta, bricks, and metals, and how an architect’s decisions add to the overall character of the structure. Featured stops include the Arctic Club, Cobb Building and Smith Tower.

This tour will leave from inside the Rainier Tower Lobby located at 1301 Fifth Avenue Seattle, WA 98101.

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Art + Architecture: Let the Streets be Your Museum!

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Experience the best of public and privately funded art. From hatch covers to fountains to sculpture, Seattle’s collection is a diverse civic resource that makes art an integral part of our daily lives. This tour will educate you about development and implementation of public art programs and their integration into architecture, interior and landscape design. Featured stops include Freeway Park and the Washington State Convention and Trade Center.

This tour will leave from inside the Rainier Tower Lobby located at 1301 Fifth Avenue Seattle, WA 98101.

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Pioneer Square: Wilderness to Metropolis

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The history of Seattle reads like a funky fairy tale on the brick facades of these hallowed blocks. Stand on the spot where our city fathers waded ashore to found their metropolis. Wander back and forth across the line that once separated polite society from one of America’s most notorious vice districts. Through a gold rush, a Great Fire, and too many re-births to count, Pioneer Square has remained at the heart of Seattle’s identity. And now, with a new crop of chefs, entrepreneurs, developers, and community groups all staking their claims, Pioneer Square is preparing to absorb yet another layer of Seattle’s story.

This tour starts at Cafe Umbria 320 Occidental Ave S Seattle, WA 98104.

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High Ambitions: Concrete, Steel, Glass & Egos

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Take a closer look at the buildings that define Seattle’s skyline from the Post-Modernism of the 1980s to 21st-Century Contemporary, learn about changing styles as well as emerging trends such as green architecture, the adaptive re-use of historic buildings, and the increase in high-rise condominiums downtown. Featured buildings include: U.S. Federal Courthouse, Westin Hotel, Olive 8, Seattle Sheraton Hotel, One & Two Union Square, U.S. Bank Center, IBM Plaza, Rainier Square, Safeco Plaza, Union Bank of CA and Fifth and Madison condos, and the Bank of America Tower.

This tour starts at Smith Tower 506 2nd Ave Seattle, WA 98104.

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Hidden Spaces/Public Places: Private Property + Public Amenity = Additional Development Rights

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Explore some of downtown’s hidden treasures, like public parks, plazas and open spaces. Many of these spaces are owned by private developers but are in fact places where you can enjoy beautiful landscapes and private art collections away from the hustle and bustle of city streets.

This tour starts at City Centre (NW corner of lobby at 5th Ave and Pike St) 1420 5th Ave Seattle, WA 98101.The tour group will meet in the northwest area of the building’s lobby at 10 a.m.

Hidden Spaces/Public Places also features a number of stairs and concludes at the Harbor Steps. Please let your guide know if you, or another member of your party, have any restrictions.


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photo_retail_bookcover The book, Seattle Architecture: A Walking Guide to Downtown, is available at the following locations:
    • SAF Gallery
    • Peter Miller Books
    • Watson Kennedy — Purveyor of Fine Goods
    • “Made in Washington” Stores
    • Most bookstores
Follow this link for more information. Distribution by University of Washington Press ISBN 13: 978-0-615-14129-9

ADDRESS

Center for Architecture and Design
1010 Western Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206.667.9184

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1 day ago
The hidden ways that architecture affects how you feel

How does architecture affect how we feel? Read to find out as BBC elaborates on this interesting topic.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170605-the-psychology-behind-your-citys-design

As more of us flock to urban living, city designers are re-thinking buildings’ influence on our moods in an era of “neuro-architecture”.

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2 days ago

Want to learn more about the buildings that shape Seattle's skyline? Come explore downtown on our Greatest Hits Tour tomorrow at 10am and Sunday at 1pm!
Tickets: http://bit.ly/2tNU6VD

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3 days ago
Find Events | Buy Tickets | Bold Type Tickets

Don't miss tomorrow's University of Washington tour. The UW tour is a great way to get familiar with a variety of architectural styles in a short amount of time. The campus features buildings from ... See more

Bold Type Tickets is your connection to events in your town, backed by the promotional power of your local weekly newspaper.

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4 days ago
Washington Main Street

Washington Main Street is accepting applications!

Washington Main Street is now accepting applications for new Main Street Communities and Affiliates!

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5 days ago
Find Events | Buy Tickets | Seattle Architecture

Our tours this week include Architecture 101, Art Deco, and a University of Washington tour. The UW campus has an eclectic mix of buildings with different architectural styles including Brutalist and ... See more

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5 days ago
The International Examiner – Architecture exhibit tells the story of CID street revitalization

Thanks to the International Examiner for this exhibit recap of our Main Streets Exhibit! Stop by the Center to see the current exhibit: Extraordinary Playscapes - It will get you in the mood for ... See more

The Seattle Architecture Foundation (SAF) exhibit “Main Streets in a Changing America” showcased how five communities across the country have successfully revitalized their main streets. One of ... See more

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1 week ago
Art + Architecture Tour: Let the Streets Be Your Museum! Tickets | Rainier Tower | Seattle, WA | July 15, 2017 | Seattle Architecture

Did you know that Seattle's 1% for the Arts Program specifies that "1% of eligible city capital improvement project funds be set aside for the commission, purchase and installation of ... See more

Experience the best of public and privately funded art. From hatch covers to fountains to sculpture, Seattle’s collection is a diverse civic resource that makes art an integral part of our daily ... See more

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1 week ago
Seattle Design Festival - Block Party

Don't miss the #SDF2017 Block Party!

The Seattle Design Festival Block Party is a two-day street fair celebrating the powerful ways design affects our lives. This fun outdoor event, hosted in Occidental Park in Pioneer Square, serves as ... See more

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1 week ago
Urban Sketching with the Northwest School

It was so inspiring to have Urban Sketchers Seattle spend time with our summer program participants at The Northwest School! What a great day and so much fun! Thank you!

7/12/17 Plymouth Pillars Park Sometimes I think about how much more sketching I might have done before age 52 (when I finally did sta...

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1 week ago
Blow Up

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Smart. Authoritative. Entertaining. With a bold design, eye-catching photography, and an editorial voice that’s at once witty and in-the-know, Seattle Metropolitan is our city’s monthly ... See more

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