Newsletter | Sep/Oct 2009

Architecture and the City Reception 2009

Seattle Architectural Tour

by Carolyne Orazi
Recently, I had the pleasure of taking an architectural walking tour while visiting Seattle. The tour is hosted by the Seattle Architectural Foundation and was led by a Foundation member, Roberta Miner and local architect, Aaron Swain. The tour I took covered roughly four blocks. Roberta and Aaron chose an interesting theme for the Architecture 101 tour. The tour was based on the history of glass in structures and how glass works in buildings. The tour covered over ten buildings that were built in Seattle as early as 1908 up to 2006. The tour discussed how window glass and its usage has changed over time due to the user’s needs.

The range of buildings and architecture chosen was very dramatic from the Italianate design of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel (circa 1924) to the 1964 post –modern IBM building designed by Seattle-born architect Minora Yamasaki. The tour took in several of Seattle’s highlighted buildings from the civic architecture of Benaroya Concert Hall designed by LMN Architects 1998 to the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) by Robert Venturi and continued on to eco-textured Four Seasons Hotel built in 2006. This tour did not include interior visits to these buildings but did stop into Benaroya Concert Hall where one could view the amazing ‘Chrystal Cascade’ Chandeliers by Dale Chihuly. The Foundation offers several other tours throughout the city. If you are interested in taking any of these while visiting Seattle, please contact the Seattle Architectural foundation at

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