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.

Thank you to our tours underwriter:

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 days ago
Diamonds & Gold Tour: The Art Deco Skyscraper Northwest Style Tickets | Fairmont Olympic Hotel Lobby | Seattle, WA | Sat, Feb 23 from 10am - 12pm | Seattle Architecture

Take a trip back to the 20s and delight yourself with Seattle's most impressive and well preserved Art Deco buildings. Join us on our next tour where you’ll discover diamonds and gold! Get your ... See more

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 ... See more

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6 days ago
A Conversation Behind Sanctuary: Design for Belonging Tickets | Center for Architecture & Design | Seattle, WA | Tue, Feb 19 from 6pm - 7:30pm | Seattle Architecture

Join us this coming Tuesday for a conversation with the winners and judges of "Sanctuary: Design for Belonging", the current exhibit at CfAD presented by AIA Seattle. Hear about the inspirations and ... See more

Join us for a discussion alongside the competition winners and judges of the current exhibit, Sanctuary: Design for Belonging. The design competition focuses on creating safe spaces and resources ... See more

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1 week ago
2019 Annual Open House and Bill Strong Awards Tickets | Center for Architecture & Design | Seattle, WA | Wed, Feb 13 from 6pm - 8pm | Seattle Architecture

For those who enjoy working alongside with kids and families, we are looking for volunteers for our Youth and Family Programs. Join us in our biggest celebration of the year and learn more about our ... See more

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2 weeks ago
We don’t build ‘em like we used to—but that’s not a bad thing

Architecture styles have evolved throughout the years due to a lot of factors such as current needs, material conditions, functionality and design trends. "We don’t build houses like we used to ... See more

McMansion Hell’s Kate Wagner argues her point

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2 weeks ago
A Night with Project Feast: Transformative Tales and Tastes Tickets | Center for Architecture & Design | Seattle, WA | Wed, Feb 20 from 6pm - 7:30pm | Seattle Architecture

Join us for a free event brought to you by SAF in collaboration with Project Feast. Hear stories and learn recipes from immigrants and refugees that have transformed their lives through opportunities ... See more

Come join us for a culinary event with Project Feast, a nonprofit social enterprise providing training and pathways to jobs in the food industry for refugees and immigrants. At Project Feast, food ... See more

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2 weeks ago

Thank you Site Workshop for the amazing Youth Workshop this past Saturday. The landscape designs created during the workshop were inspiring!

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2 weeks ago
2019 Annual Open House and Bill Strong Awards Tickets | Center for Architecture & Design | Seattle, WA | Wed, Feb 13 from 6pm - 8pm | Seattle Architecture

If you are creative, delighted by new things and full of imagination, youth programs could be your new thing! Don't miss out on our upcoming Annual Open House and learn how to get involved in ... 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! From 6 - 8pm, meet and reconnect with other SAF ... See more

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3 weeks ago
Photos from Seattle Architecture Foundation's post

Thank you to everyone who made it to the Spheres for our donor appreciation event last night! It’s because of your generosity that we are able to connect so many people to the architecture, design, ... See more

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1 month ago
These 8 Prefabs in Seattle Make Us Want to Move to the Emerald City

In this article by Dwell you will find 8 outstanding prefab houses in #Seattle. Which one is your favorite?

There's a reason why prefabs are becoming ever so popular in the booming northwestern corner of Seattle, Washington.

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1 month ago
Historic photos show a brand-new Alaskan Way Viaduct

Viaduct nostalgia for this Period of Maximum Constraint

The viaduct wasn’t always old and crumbling

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