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 Fairmont Olympic Hotel Lobby at 411 University St, 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 Fairmont Olympic Hotel Lobby at 411 University St, 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 Fairmont Olympic Hotel Lobby at 411 University St, 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 Fairmont Olympic Hotel Lobby at 411 University St, 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 Fairmont Olympic Hotel Lobby at 411 University St, 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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17 hours ago

#FlashbackFriday: Check out these cool photos of Green Lake then and now!
http://bit.ly/2xboFqm

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1 day ago
Greatest Hits Tour: Chart Toppers and Heart-Stoppers Tickets | Fairmont Olympic Hotel Lobby | Seattle, WA | August 18, 2017 | Seattle Architecture

Don't miss out: tomorrow at 10am is our Greatest Hits Tour! Come see Seattle architectural icons like the Central Library and City Hall.
Tickets: http://bit.ly/2fAqKbW

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 ... See more

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2 days ago
Seattle Design Festival

The Seattle Design Festival is seeking volunteer photographers. Check it out.

Are you a social butterfly? Help us capture the excitement @ #SDF2017 as a volunteer photographer! Volunteer photographers get free unlimited access to designated events, and pictures captured at the ... See more

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2 days ago
What is the 'Seattle style' in architecture?

What distinguishes Seattle architecture from that of other cities? Read all about it here: http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/What-makes-up-Seattle-s-architectural-style-11718874.php

Though the conditions, style and growth rate may have changed Seattle, the city's version of "Northwest Style" has remained consistent. So what are the fundamentals of the Seattle style?

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3 days ago
New Program: Design Soirée with SAF!

Take a peek at our mid-August newsletter. Our newsletters are the best way to find out what's new at SAF.

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3 days ago
Architecture 101 Tour: Windows on Seattle's Style Tickets | Fairmont Olympic Hotel Lobby | Seattle, WA | August 17, 2017 | Seattle Architecture

Ever noticed the glass details in downtown architecture? The Architecture 101 Tour will open your eyes to the changing societal trends behind architectural elements. Come join us Thursday at ... See more

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 ... See more

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4 days ago
7 great midcentury-modern moments in Seattle architecture

As the architecture industry continues to move forward, here's a look back at midcentury-modern ... See more

Most people think of California as the hub of midcentury modernism, but the Pacific Northwest lent the movement an indelible style.

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6 days ago
High Ambitions Tour: Concrete, Steel, Glass, and Egos Tickets | Smith Tower | Seattle, WA | August 13, 2017 | Seattle Architecture

As the smoke clears out, the weather is looking better! Take this opportunity to check out one of our tours. Tomorrow don't miss:

The High Ambitions Tour: Learn more about building solutions like ... See more

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 ... See more

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1 week ago
Photos from Seattle Architecture Foundation's post

Don't miss your chance to join a sophisticated soiree on Lake Union in this beautiful floating home! Thanks Lanker Design LLC and Cloudburst Brewing for hosting!

http://bit.ly/DesignSoireeLakeUnion

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1 week ago
Greatest Hits Tour: Chart Toppers and Heart-Stoppers Tickets | Fairmont Olympic Hotel Lobby | Seattle, WA | August 12, 2017 | Seattle Architecture

Got family or friends in town? On Saturday, come join us on our Greatest Hits Tour! It's a great way to show them the city and its beautiful architecture.
tickets: http://bit.ly/2vhMuyF

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 ... See more

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