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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1 month ago

We'd like to say THANK YOU to Integrus Architecture for hosting this month's Youth Workshop, Space Architecture. The next generation of architects and engineers came up with some amazing designs.

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1 month ago
Board & Vellum Have Designed A Backyard Reading Retreat In Seattle

Board and Vellum have created this stunning backyard reading retreat in #Seattle, every corner of the room is impressive. Take a look at it. Via Contemporist

Board & Vellum, have created a backyard reading retreat that's surrounded by outdoor seating, a firepit, a hot tub, and a new backyard shed.

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1 month ago
More than just glass boxes: Modernist homes vary by region | Produced by Advertising Publications

Do you think modernist houses across the country look the same? Check out this article by The Seattle Times and find out how design varies by region and why homes should look like they belong to the ... See more

Far from being homogenous glass cubes, Modernist homes vary widely, reflecting regional landscapes, climates and lifestyles.

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1 month ago

Let us take you on a journey into history, embark on the Diamonds & Gold walking tour and discover all of the Art Deco beauty that Seattle's Buildings have to show you.

Photo: Alice Hammond

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1 month ago
DONATE « Seattle Architecture Foundation

Happy New Year!
Thanks to all of our supporters who have made contributions this year. We are looking forward to connecting even more people with Seattle's architecture, design and history in 2019! ... See more

The best architectural photograph of the year has been anounced at this year's World Architectural Festival. Take a look at the winner. Via Archinect

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1 month ago
's cover photo

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2 months ago
The World's Best Architectural Photograph of the Year announced at WAF 2018

The best architectural photograph of the year has been anounced at this year's World Architectural Festival. Take a look at the winner. Via Archinect

Polish photographer Pawel Paniczko has taken top honors winning the overall architectural photography prize at this year’s World Architecture Festival. His photograph of Long Museum West Bund, ... See more

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2 months ago
DONATE « Seattle Architecture Foundation

You can still make a donation to Seattle Architecture Foundation. Help us keep providing awesome tours, youth programs, and lectures to the Seattle community. No matter how much you give, every ... See more

Recharge the Battery is a movement created last year to support the improving urban experience around the Battery Street Tunnel. The Miller Hull Partnership, a Seattle Architecture firm, has ... See more

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2 months ago
Population Mountains

Have you wondered what it would be like to have a 3D view of the entire world? City by city, this map gives you a better understanding of how the population density is unevenly distributed along the ... See more

The shape of cities, using population data for every 1,000 square meters.

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2 months ago
Palihotel opens in historic building by Pike Place Market

#Seattle is going through many architectural restorations lately, and Palihotel Seattle is a one of them, it used to be the Colonnade Hotel in 1898. Steps from #PikePlaceMarket, the Palihotel lets ... See more

Located in the Colonnade Hotel building, it has a cozy, vintage vibe—and some bunk beds

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