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Summary for this site is under review and the displayed data may not be fully up to date. If you need additional info, please call (206) 684-0464

Historic Name: Century Building Common Name: Century Building
Style: Modern Neighborhood: Queen Anne
Built By: Year Built: 1965

This Neo-expressionist style commercial building is in the Uptown neighborhood and known as the Century Building; designed for the Century Investment Company. It was designed by architects Bystrom and Greco in 1964. Structural engineering was done by Anderson-Bjornstad-Kane. The general contractor was Jentoft & Forbes. The permit to construct the building (507626) was issued on June 16, 1964. Seattle First National Bank was a corner anchor tenant from the beginning, with an entrance at 400 Queen Anne Avenue N on the west facade. The original drawings are on file with the City Department of Construction and Inspections.

The building was one of two structures in Washington State cited for excellence in the concrete-group awards in 1966 in an international competition sponsored by the Prestressed Concrete Institute. The Century Building was noted by the jury that “The building expresses its materials – prestressed concrete and brick – remarkably well in a thoroughly contemporary manner, [and that] a well-articulated plan separates the service core, providing clear, open office-rental space.”

Tenants listed in the 1965 Polk directory include: Acacia Mutual Life Insurance Co.; Alaska Pacific Sales Co. Wholesale Liquor; Christian Brothers Wholesale Liquor; Fund Administrative Associates; the office of Bystrom & Greco Architects; and Michalsen Singer & Co. Accountants.

Tenants in 1969 included: Alaska Pacific Sales Co.; Christian Brothers Wines; Western Washington Laborers Employers Trust Funds Credit Union; Acacia Mutual Life Insurance Co.; Land Sales Co.; Seattle Homes Land Development; Business Factors Inc.; Omega Development Co. (apartment construction); Arnie Bystrom Architect; Chester Sundt Accountant; Michalsen Singer & Company accountants.

Carl A. Bystrom (1927–2017) graduated from the University of Washington summa cum laude with an AIA Student Silver Medal for excellence in design in 1951. From ca. 1953 to 1957 he worked in Paul Thiry’s office. Bystrom worked briefly with Decker & Christiansen in 1957 before starting his own practice with James Greco in 1958. James Greco was also a graduate of the University of Washington College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Over the course of the firm’s career the architects earned more than 30 design awards and constructed a range of commercial buildings and single family residences in Washington and Idaho. Bystrom was a founding member of the Pike Place Market Historical Commission. The firm maintained an office in the Century Building, sharing an office with landscape architect William Teufel until 1967. After the firm dissolved, Carl (Arnie) Bystrom retained an office here through 1969.

The building retains a moderate level of integrity.


Documentation and Conservation of the Modern Movement, Western WA. Architect Biographies. (Accessed July 19, 2018).

‘Seattle Building, Chelan Bridge Win Concrete-Group Awards.’ Seattle Daily Times, August 28, 1966: 51.

City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.

Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, ed., Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Guide to the Architects (Seattle, University of Washington Press: 2014), 2nd edition.

King County Property Record Card (c. 1938–1972), Washington State Archives.

Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890–1996.

Bystrom & Greco In New Offices.’ Seattle Daily Times, March 07, 1965: 81.


Constructed in 1965, this two-part block form commercial building is four stories tall and has a rectangular footprint. Located at the northeast corner of Harrison Street and Queen Anne Avenue N, the building consists of the office tower along Queen Anne Avenue N and a two-story parking structure. An alley abuts the east side of the site. Access to the parking structure is from both Queen Anne Avenue N and Harrison Street. The building has a main rectangular footprint with the elevator tower and stairway off set on the east and connected by a narrow hyphen. A small garden court with three mature trees extends north of the elevator tower, between the building and parking structure. The court is paved with exposed aggregate. There are street trees along Queen Anne Avenue N (three white birches) and Harrison Street (two American sycamores).

A flat roof with parapet shelters interior spaces. Rolled roofing clads the roof.

A concrete foundation supports the reinforced concrete structure. Exterior walls consist a post-and-beam pre-stressed structural system articulated in concrete for visual effect. Slender concrete piers rise from the foundation to the parapet with wide horizontal beams spanning between them at each story. At each story, between the piers, two beam ends project. Tall fixed tinted glass sheets fill each bay at the first story level. Darker brick panels occur at the first story level on the north and east facades. Upper story bays consist of a tan-gray colored brick veneer at each bay with projecting fins to either side of the window openings. The garage consists of a reinforced concrete structure (beams and deck) with an upper brick clad railing. Low brick walls flank the driveway off Queen Anne Avenue N providing access to the second story level. The elevator and stair tower exhibit the same externally expressed concrete post and beam structure with recessed tan-gray brick veneer cladding. Thin openings at each story between the end wall cladding and side wall cladding give the impression of floating walls around the core function areas.

Windows consist of fixed sash units with a single glass sheet within each opening. The glass is tinted.

The main south entrance occurs at the base of the hyphen and has the building’s name and address painted in gold lettering on the fixed-lite transom over a pair of single-lite doors. Tall glass side lites flank the doorway. There is a matching doorway on the north side of the hyphen, allowing a clear line of sight through the hyphen.

The west entrance consists of a glass door, transom, and side lites with a minimum of framing elements. The glass is tinted a warm amber.

Alterations include removal of the vertical screens above the window openings at the upper stories; these screens were held between the projecting beam ends. There are shear wall additions on the north, south and west facade and are visible as the stucco clad concrete forms rising along the facades.

Detail for this site is under review and the displayed data may not be fully up to date. If you need additional info, please call (206) 684-0464

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Concrete, Stucco Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition-Rolled
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Business Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: four
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Moderate
Changes to Original Cladding: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References

Photo collection for this site is under review and the displayed data may not be fully up to date. If you need additional info, please call (206) 684-0464

Photo taken Feb 27, 2018

Photo taken Feb 27, 2018

Photo taken Feb 27, 2018

Photo taken Feb 27, 2018

Photo taken Feb 27, 2018

Photo taken Feb 27, 2018

Photo taken Feb 27, 2018

Photo taken Feb 27, 2018

Photo taken Feb 27, 2018

Photo taken Feb 27, 2018

Photo taken Jan 01, 1900

Photo taken Jan 01, 1900
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