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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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.

*The Pioneer Square Tour is only available by request as a private tour at this time. Please email us at info@seattlearchitecture.org for more information.
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
16 Women Breaking New Ground in Architecture

Check out the work of 16 women architects who are leading the charge in moving the architecture field forward.

Highlighting a group of international women, from early to late career, who are pushing the architecture field forward.

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1 month ago

The late and the great "queen of curves," Zaha Hadid. https://www.wallpaper.com/tags/zaha-hadid

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1 month ago
CFAD Play Lab Tickets | Center for Architecture & Design | Seattle, WA | Sat, Mar 30 from 1pm - 4pm | Seattle Architecture

Drop in for CFAD Play Lab anytime today between 1:00 - 4:00 PM at the Center for Architecture & Design

This opportunity is free and perfect for ages 5-9 with aid of a chaperone.

Explore the newest AIA exhibit at the Center for Architecture and Design: Because it Rains, and build your own space! Rain is a big part of living in the Pacific Northwest. When it rains we  ... See more

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1 month ago
Norma Merrick Sklarek

Fellow, American Institute of Architects, 1980, first African American woman- Norma Merrick Sklarek.

As one of the first African American women architects in the US, Norma Merrick Sklarek (1926–2012) has been called the “Rosa Parks of architecture.”

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1 month ago
UW Cherry Blossom Cam

SAF tour guests are treated to a beautiful quad full of blooms today! Check out this live cam, or even better visit this weekend!

The iconic UW Quad features gothic architecture, brick pathways and green lawns and is surrounded by six buildings that house the arts, humanities and social...

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1 month ago
Diamonds & Gold Tour: The Art Deco Skyscraper Northwest Style Tickets | Fairmont Olympic Hotel Lobby | Seattle, WA | Sat, Mar 30 from 10am - 12pm | Seattle Architecture

Join our Art Deco tour tomorrow and see how Northwest imagery was incorporated into the design of these architectural gems.

Featured stops Exchange Building, the Seattle Tower and Washington ... 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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1 month ago
Nonconformity - The Style of Eileen Gray

"Many Art Deco and Bauhaus architects and designers found inspiration in Gray's unique style." Designer, architect, and artist Eileen Gray created and lived by her own accord.

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1 month ago
Overlooked No More: Julia Morgan, Pioneering Female Architect

Julia Morgan- from craftsman to castles. She was the first woman to earn an architect’s license in California and a prolific designer of hundreds of buildings.

Morgan, who was the first woman to earn an architect’s license in California, was a prolific designer of hundreds of buildings, namely the Hearst Castle at San Simeon.

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2 months ago
Marion Mahony Griffin

To end Women's History Month with a bang, we'll take the rest of the week to focus on groundbreaking women in architecture. First up- Marion Mahoney Griffin and her impact on American Prairie School.

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2 months ago
Diamonds & Gold Tour: The Art Deco Skyscraper Northwest Style Tickets | Fairmont Olympic Hotel Lobby | Seattle, WA | Sat, Mar 30 from 10am - 12pm | Seattle Architecture

Join our upcoming Art Deco tour on March 30th!
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 ... 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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