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/$12 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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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.

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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4 hours ago
Modern Architecture + Design Society

Don't miss this tour!

The Seattle Modern Home Tour is your once-a-year chance to have a look inside that amazing house you drive by every day! Meet the architects, talk to the owners and get up-close-and-personal with ... See more

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1 day ago
Home

This free self-guided tour features healthier and greener new single-family, multi-family, tiny homes and remodels in the greater #Seattle area.

You’ll see and learn first-hand how your neighbors ... See more

The Northwest Green Home Tour is a free annual educational event, produced by the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild that showcases local, sustainable and green new homes, remodels, and energy retrofits in ... See more

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2 days ago

Thanks to these amazing women for an engaging discussion on Education and Innovation Spaces at last night's DID Talk.

Sally Knodell, Environmental Works, Caroline Lemay, Bassetti Architects, Diana ... See more

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5 days ago
2018 Seattle Modern Home Tour

Don't miss the 2018 Seattle Modern Home Tour. When you check out with the code SAF2018 you'll get a $5 discount and proceeds will help support SAF!

With more than 60 events celebrated, The Modern Architecture + Design Society's Modern Home Tours are the longest running and most prestigious home tour series in North America, having visited over ... See more

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1 week ago
ByDesign 2018 Design Festival - Northwest Film Forum

Northwest Film Forum’s annual design fest #ByDesign runs Apr. 12–15, with #architecture docs, #fashion shows, panels + art marts! This year's fest focuses on increasing representation for ... See more

ByDesign 2018 features guest artists, documentaries, short films, and presentations that illuminate the roots, currents and future of design in motion.

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1 week ago
Street Critic | Kerry Hall, a palace on the Hill

Street Critic John Feit, discusses a favorite Capitol HIll building; Kerry Hall, a 1921 Spanish Colonial Revival style building, as well as some of his favorite American architects.

One of my favorite Capitol Hill buildings is Kerry Hall, home of Cornish College for the Arts’s Dance and Music departments, on the corner of Harvard Ave E and E Roy. The sole extant building…

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1 week ago
DID Hello Seattle! Work & Education

Join us April 17th for our Education and Innovation Panel

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Learn how creative new design approaches can empower people, improve collaboration, and build community in schools and the workplace. The average person spends nearly a third of their lifetime at ... See more

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1 week ago
Hidden Spaces & Public Places Tour

Spots are filling up fast - join us to discover hidden spots & public right in downtown Seattle.

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 ... See more

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1 week ago
Design Details Tour: Lions, Griffins & Walruses, Oh My!

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 ... See more

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 ... See more

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1 week ago
Youth Design Workshop: Portable & Wearable Architecture

We have a Youth Design Workshop coming up! Next Saturday kids ages 10-14, will work with SAF staff and volunteer architects to find solutions to imaginative and thought-provoking Design challenges. ... See more

What if you could carry your home on your back like a turtle?

In this session of our Youth Design Series - kids will explore the many instances in which portable architecture becomes a necessity, ... See more

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