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.

Pioneer Square tours have concluded for 2017. Will resume in spring 2018.

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

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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Thank you to the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture for sponsoring out tour Season OAC_logoforweb[black]
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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6 hours ago
Mid-Century Modern: Precedents and Regional Influences - Historic Seattle

Join our friends at Historic Seattle in Edmonds on March 3

Enjoy lectures from Brian Conway, Michigan’s State Historic Preservation Officer and David Martin, Curator of the Cascadia Art Museum. ... See more

Lectures and self-guided tour of Cascadia Art Museum

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2 days ago
Edible Landscapes: Urban Gardens & Farms Tickets | Perkins + Will | Seattle, WA | Sat, Feb 10 from 11am - 3pm | Seattle Architecture

Kale, Kale Kale! Sign your young gardener up for our Urban Gardens and Farms workshop taking place Perkins+Will on Saturday

What’s more local than food grown right in the city? As Seattle becomes denser everyday, and the planet becomes ever warmer, growing green spaces in our city become ever more important. Working ... See more

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4 days ago
DID Hello Seattle! Food Culture

Come join us to hear how culinary-inspired spaces are supporting & embracing refugees & immigrants in the greater Seattle area.

Food connects people and bridges culture gaps. It’s a catalyst for conversations and innovation. This talk will focus on culinary-inspired spaces that support and celebrate ... See more

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5 days ago
Greatest Hits Tour: Chart Toppers and Heart-Stoppers Tickets | Fairmont Olympic Hotel Lobby | Seattle, WA | Sat, Feb 3 from 10am - 12pm | Seattle Architecture

There's still time to sign up for tomorrow's Greatest Hits tour and learn how Seattle's skyline has changed over the years.

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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6 days ago
UW Department of Architecture

Just sharing this event from the UW Department of Architecture

Please join us on Wednesday night for the next in our Winter 2018 Lecture Series, with Amale Andraos from the Columbia GSAPP and WORK Architecture Company! A book signing willl follow the lecture. ... See more

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1 week ago
SAF Annual Open House 2018

Join us for SAF’s biggest event to showcase all that SAF does and celebrate and thank our volunteers who help make SAF a great community resource! Meet and reconnect with SAF volunteers and design ... See more

Join us for SAF’s biggest event to showcase all that SAF does and celebrate and thank our volunteers who help make SAF a great community resource! Meet and reconnect with SAF volunteers and design ... See more

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1 week ago
Hidden layers of history uncovered by demolition of Rainier Square

Take a walk down memory lane and check out the hidden layers under our old digs at Rainier Square

When the downtown Seattle shopping center from the 1970s known as Rainier Square was demolished, layers of the city’s history were suddenly revealed.

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1 week ago
Greatest Hits Tour: Chart Toppers and Heart-Stoppers Tickets | Fairmont Olympic Hotel Lobby | Seattle, WA | Sat, Feb 3, 2018 from 10am - 12pm | Seattle Architecture

Did you know that there are six Seattle branch libraries on the National Register of Historic Places? The central library isn't one of them but it's still pretty great. Learn more about the Seattle ... See more

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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1 week ago
Amazon Spheres’ public visitor center opens January 30

You, yes you, can visit the Amazon spheres starting Tuesday!

Here’s how the public can peek inside Amazon’s biophilic office facility.

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1 week ago
A New School of Pastry Chefs Got Its Start in Architecture

What do architecture and pastry making have in common? Apparently a lot according to this NYTimes

"The link between architecture and pastry dates back at least to 1815, when the renowned French ... See more

Whether they dazzle or intrigue, these desserts always work in a carefully thought-out way that defies the flashy concoctions on Instagram.

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