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

Mark your calendar for our Diamonds & Gold Tour: The Art Deco Skyscraper Northwest Style! On this tour, we’ll go back in time to visit lush lobbies and ornate commercial buildings to learn how ... 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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2 months ago
031: Obsession

Interesting article from Life of an Architect's perspective of his own personality type. What do you think? Is it true?

Do Architects have obsessive personalities? I tend to think so, and only partially based on my own behavior. I should throw out the caveat that I don’t think you should have to explain why you ... See more

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2 months ago
Seattle’s most significant terra cotta buildings

Are you looking for a self-guided tour of Seattle in the fall? This is a great article to follow if you like terra cotta buildings!

From window bays to walrus heads

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2 months ago
Wittman Estes and NODE use prefab elements to create rentable backyard cottage in Seattle

Check out Wittman Estes, one of the exhibitors at our Symbiosis / 22nd Annual Architectural Model Exhibition featured in this Dezeen article!

American firms Wittman Estes and NODE have created an accessory dwelling unit, or ADU, that is wrapped in charred wood and runs entirely on solar power.

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2 months ago
Landscape architecture is getting a major international prize

"...surprisingly there hasn’t been a major international award recognizing the field of landscape architecture—until now."

The new prize, which comes with a $100,000 award, hopes to raise awareness of the the importance of landscape architecture today.

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3 months ago
Rainier Square skyscraper, set to be second-tallest in Seattle, reaches its full height

At 850 feet tall, it’s set to be the second-highest tower in all of Seattle—and as of last week, it already kind of is.

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3 months ago
Capitol Hill Design Crawl - Design in Public

The Capitol Hill Design Crawl will be August 17th, 9am-10pm, and includes a tour, a film screening, several panel discussions, a charette, a book signing and an exhibit.

The Capitol Hill ... See more

The Capitol Hill Neighborhood Design Crawl consists of concentrated events, open studios, exhibits, interactive workshops or participatory design interventions that are meant to activate and ... See more

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3 months ago
At the Powerhouse

Make art with Fremont Arts Council at the Luminata Lantern Workshops! They will have all the materials you need and workshop hosts will be on hand to guide you through the process. August 22 - 25

Drop by the Powerhouse Public Art Studio at 3940 Fremont Ave N. All are welcome to participate in FAC sponsored activities and events. We welcome a diversity of viewpoints, backgrounds & art fo…

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3 months ago
Design in Public

Our friends at Design in Public are gearing up for the biggest event of the year; The 2019 Seattle Design Festival: Balance. Make sure to clear your week, it will be a great time! We'll be hosting ... See more

Design in Public celebrates all the ways that design makes life better for Seattle. We nurture relationships among designers, citizens, city leaders, and future-thinking business innovators.

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3 months ago
Photos from Seattle Architecture Foundation's post

Due to popular demand we've opened an additional August date for our Federal Avenue tour. On this tour you’ll see a variety of classic architectural styles from notable architects of the day, ... See more

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