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Summary for 910 5th AVE / Parcel ID 0942000445 / Inv #

Historic Name: Washington Education Association Common Name:
Style: Modern - International Style Neighborhood: Commercial Core
Built By: Year Built: 1955
This property is directly associated with a crucial period (1950-1966) during which downtown commercial redevelopment began to occur after nearly thirty years of stagnation as several major modern municipal government and commercial buildings were constructed. However, compared with massive post-war suburban real estate development, relatively few new buildings were constructed in downtown Seattle until the late 1950s. Major modern construction included the Public Safety Building (1951, destroyed), Seattle Public Library (1956-59, destroyed) and the Municipal Building (1959-61, destroyed), as well as the expansions of the two major downtown department stores. Scattered major commercial construction included several notable extant buildings that reflect modern zoning changes and architectural trends including: the Norton Building (1958); the Logan Building (1959); the Washington Building (1960) and the IBM Building (1961-64). The Seattle World’s Fair - Century 21 Exposition was held in 1962 and triggered the remodeling of older buildings and the construction of the monorail, and tourist-oriented restaurants and motels. Throughout this era older buildings were demolished to make way for surface parking lots and garages and for interstate freeway construction. The Washington Education Association Building was designed by Seattle Architects Jones and Bindon in 1955. John Paul Jones was educated at University of Pennsylvania (B.Arch., 1916) and began his architectural career in Seattle with the firm of Bebb and Gould in 1919. He became a junior partner in 1926 and later continued to work as a partner with Bebb (Bebb & Jones) from 1937-1947. The partnership of Jones and Bindon was established in 1947 and lasted until 1956. The firm is known to have designed the Student Union Building at the University of Washington (1947-52) and prepared the initial designs for the Downtown Seattle Public Library. Leonard Bindon is best known for his work in the subsequent partnership of Bindon & Wright. Formed in 1956, the partnership of Leonard W. Bindon and John L. Wright was responsible for the design of a number of prominent modern Seattle buildings independently and in collaboration with other firms. Significant projects credited to the firm include the Norton Building (1958) and the Downtown Seattle Public Library (destroyed, 1956-59), as well as a number other public buildings, including Fire Station No. 32 and No. 40 and numerous schools for the Seattle, Bellevue, and Ferndale school districts. This modest, three story office building was built to house the headquarters of the Washington Education Association (WEA). The building established the presence of the WEA in downtown Seattle and served the Association until 1979 when the organization and its needs outgrew the building. The WEA was established in 1889 in order for educators to improve public education for children across the state. The WEA is one of fifty state organizations affiliated with the National Education Association, which was founded in 1857. Local associations of teachers in most of the 397 school districts throughout the state are affiliated with the WEA. Throughout the years the WEA has worked to secure adequate state funding for local school districts, raised teacher standards by strengthening teacher certification and education, and improved teachers’ pensions and benefits. This building is an altered example of an unusual downtown property type, offices for a civic or professional organization. The only other extant building designed to partly serve a similar function is the Chamber of Commerce Building. The subject building is a modest and altered example of post-war modern architectural design. However, it is one of only seven extant downtown buildings dating from this era.
Located at the sloping NE corner of Fifth Avenue and Marion Street, this three-story building was designed and constructed for the Washington Education Association to provide office space and a private parking area. It is currently used for commercial office purposes. It has an irregular off-set T-shaped plan; the wing fronting on Fifth Avenue measures 41’ x 120’ and the wing oriented toward but set-back (approx. 20’) from Marion Street measures 39’ x 75 feet. A 60’ x 75’ parking area is located at the NE corner of the site. The building exhibits a simple enframed multiple bay façade composition designed in a minimal modern design mode. The reinforced concrete structure with concrete foundation and partial basement is primarily clad with concrete stucco. The south elevation of the Fifth Avenue wing was originally clad with Italian marble that appears to have been removed. The Fifth Avenue elevation is composed of six structural bays divided by concrete piers with each bay dominated by flush recessed bands of windows and concrete spandrels. The roofline is terminated by a metal coping member that in conjunction with the end walls and structural piers enframe the façade and individual bays. The original design used contrasting materials and finishes to highlight the enframed bays and the structural elements. The current finishes and paint colors are uniform and the contrasting effect is diminished. The northernmost bay includes a recessed entry vestibule that has been remodeled and modernized. A non-historic continuous awning extends the full length of the west elevation above the first floor level windows and further disrupts the visual rhythm of the enframed bays. Original aluminum casement windows with transoms set in groups of five remain in place. The Marion Street elevation exhibits the same basic façade composition with structural bays divided by concrete piers and flush recessed bands of windows and concrete spandrels. It is set back from the property line allowing for a narrow planting area along the sidewalk edge. A “drive-thru” at this elevation provides access/egress to the parking area within the interior courtyard. Original aluminum casement operation windows with transoms set in groups of five also remain in place at this elevation and at the courtyard area elevations. There do not appear to be any intact or architecturally significant interior building features, finishes or public spaces.

Detail for 910 5th AVE / Parcel ID 0942000445 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Concrete, Glass - Curtain Wall Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Other Plan: T-Shape
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: three
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Education
Changes to Original Cladding: Moderate
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Interior: Unknown
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Kink, Steven and Cahill, John. Class Wars: The Story of the WEA 1965-2001, ???

Photo collection for 910 5th AVE / Parcel ID 0942000445 / Inv #

Photo taken May 17, 2006
App v2.0.1.0