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Summary for 901 Stewart ST / Parcel ID 066001160 / Inv #

Historic Name: Gethsemane Lutheran Church Common Name: Gethsemane Lutheran Church
Style: Modern Neighborhood: Denny Triangle
Built By: Year Built: 1954
 
Significance
The main portion of the building, including the taller space and the concrete spire, was designed by J. Emil Anderson in association with the architecture firm of Young Richardon Carleton and Detlie. Construction for the main portion of the new church building was completed in 1954. At this time, the existing Carpenter Gothic Gethsemane Lutheran Church, originally the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church, which dated from 1901, was still located on the northern portion of the site. The original construction drawings by Anderson and Young Richardson Carleton and Detlie envisioned a much larger footprint for the structure. This would have forced the immediate demolition of the older structure, located directly along the southeast corner of 9th Avenue and Stewart. Both the demolition of the older church and the larger footprint for the building were temporarily shelved; however even the original construction drawings stipulated that the older church structure would be demolished, as soon as the new building was occupied. A subsequent addition, including the simpler, lower “bar” shape was completed in 1960, on the site of the old church structure. The architect for this addition was architect Donald Neraas, whose office was located, at the time, in Spokane (in the Davenport Hotel). The building is mainly significant because of the 1954 wing of the building, an unabashedly 1950s Modernist design by a Seattle architecture firm with a relatively long pedigree. Officially, the firm of Young Richardon Carleton and Detlie only lasted two years, from 1954 to 1956; however, it began in 1920 as the firm of Schack, Young and Myers, well-known for its work on the planning and design of numerous buildings for the city of Longview, Washington, including the Hotel Monticello. The design of this building, however, is consistent with the firm’s Modernist work, produced by it and its successors from the 1950s to the 1990s. A long chain of associations makes Young Richardon Carleton and Detlie one of Seattle’s oldest architecture firms, related to a succession of older firms, responsible for some of Seattle’s most well-known buildings, produced in historical styles. After David J. Myers’ departure from Schack Young and Myers in 1929, Arrigo M. Young and James H. Schack continued the practice until Schack’s death in 1933. Originally educated as a structural engineer at the University of Michigan, Arrigo Young also became an architect. He formed a partnership in 1941 with Stephen H. Richardson, an MIT graduate in architecture. At least into the 1930s, the firm continued to work in a variety of historical styles. By the late 1940s, it had clearly transitioned to Modernism, as exemplified in the Seattle Parks Department Headquarters in Denny Park (1947-1948) in the South Lake Union area. From 1954, the year of Young’s death, until 1956, the firm was known as Young, Richardson, Carleton and Detlie, but John Stuart Detlie soon left the firm. From 1956 to 1967, Young Richardson and Carleton designed many Modernist projects, including concourses at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the Bloedel Hall addition to St. Mark’s Cathedral (1957 - 1959) and the Seattle Unity Church of Truth (1960) in South Lake Union. In 1967, the firm became The Richardson Associates, and then, simply TRA. It remained one of the largest Seattle firms, responsible for buildings and airports not only in Seattle, but throughout the United States and abroad, until its demise in the 1990s.
 
Appearance
This is a building with a variety of heights and composed of several volumetric shapes. Located on the southeast corner of 9th and Stewart Street, the building faces directly onto 9th Avenue as well as Stewart Street, while a third elevation faces a parking lot, fronting on Terry Avenue. The structure is steel and concrete, with exterior concrete walls, primarily covered with brick veneer, and beige-pink tile cladding on portions of a later addition. The plan is almost rectangular, but because of the dramatic change in heights, this is not always immediately perceptible. All roofs, however, are flat and have parapets. The building reads as a series of interrelated volumetric shapes: a large cube-like prism, corresponding to a large meeting or sanctuary space, with a basement below it, is set on the south portion of the lot. Adjoining the north wall of the large cube-like space and placed close, but not flush with the 9th Avenue façade, is a taller, light concrete spire, with an exterior concrete frame. The spire includes many tall, vertical concrete elements, set inside the frame and ends in an open concrete lattice. Also adjoining the cube-like shape, is a one story “bar” shape, which runs north from the taller meeting space to the sidewalk along Stewart Street. This portion of the building is a later addition to the original building. The Stewart Street elevation of this lower portion of the building features four glazed bays, set on top of a base, clad in tile. These glazed bays are set between two windowless wall expanses, mainly clad in brick veneer. Along the same elevation, the wall is then recessed. The recessed wall has a central concrete panel, with a stylized statue of Jesus Christ, flanked by two tall glazed expanses, each divided vertically into two sections and horizontally into three sections. On the 9th Avenue façade, this lower portion of the building continues with a scalloped wall, following a zig-zag pattern in plan (on the exterior), also clad in brick. There is also a low planter, clad in tile, which begins on the north façade under the bay, adorned by the statue. The planter continues around the corner and is also set below and in front of the scalloped wall. The scalloped wall is followed by a major entrance, which consists of a series of doors - one single door and two paired doors- flanked by sidelights and topped by tall transoms. The lower “bar” portion of the building ends with this main entrance; the height of the facade, because it corresponds to the tall cube-like space, suddenly rises. This portion of the façade is very spare, has no fenestration and appears as a large, brick clad wall expanse. There is one tall, recessed double door, painted red with a tile clad surround, with a large but simple metal cross above. Another important element of the cube-like volume is the series of long vertical openings on the north elevation, surmounting the elevation of the lower portion of the building.

Detail for 901 Stewart ST / Parcel ID 066001160 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Brick, Concrete, Glass, Wood Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat, Flat with Parapet, Varied roof lines Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Religion - Religious facility Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Mixed No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Community Planning/Development, Religion
Integrity
Changes to Windows: Slight
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.
Kroll's Atlas of Seattle. Seattle: Kroll Map Company, 1920 & 1928.
Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects. Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
Baist Map of 1908 and 1912
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.
J. Emil Anderson in association with Young Richardon Carleton and Detlie; Donald Neraas, Construction Drawings, “Gethsemane Lutheran Church,”ca. 1953 and 1959, Microfiche Files, Department of Planning and Development, City of Seattle.

Photo collection for 901 Stewart ST / Parcel ID 066001160 / Inv #


Photo taken Jul 24, 2006

Photo taken Feb 14, 2006
App v2.0.1.0