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Summary for 500 Olive WAY / Parcel ID 0659000380 / Inv #

Historic Name: National Bank of Commerce Common Name: Bank of America
Style: Modern Neighborhood: Denny Triangle
Built By: Year Built: 1955
This Modernist building was designed for the National Bank of Commerce in early 1955 by the architecture firm of George Wellington Stoddard and Associates. It was completed in 1955. It is located on the site of an earlier historicist building (completed 1909), for which Stoddard, in association with architect Harrison John Overturf, made compatible interior and exterior alterations in the late 1930s. This new Modernist building is typical of its time. A comparison between Stoddard’s earlier work, including the alterations to the older bank, and this new bank building, is somewhat revealing. George Wellington Stoddard, who was born in 1896, receiving a B.S. in architecture from the University of Illinois in 1917. He began his career in partnership with his father Lewis M. Stoddard. From the time of father’s death in 1929 until 1955, he maintained an independent practice, which seems to have been thriving, or at least, varied. Stoddard designed banks, apartment buildings, houses and warehouses. Examples of his work, particularly from before the 1950s, show that he had a grasp of historical styles. For instance, he designed a striking, but little known warehouse in the Art Deco Style at 777 Thomas Street, completed in 1931. In the Denny Triangle, “Stoddard & Son, Architect and Engineer,” designed the somewhat eclectic but Gothic/ Art Deco inspired garage building at 600 Olive Way (1925), directly across the street from this building. Stoddard also designed Memorial Stadium at Seattle Center in 1947 and the Green Lake Aqua Theater in 1950. From 1955 to 1960, he was a partner in Stoddard, Huggard and Associates. He died in September of 1967. The exterior of the bank building has not changed significantly and now houses a branch of the Bank of America.
This irregularly shaped two story building, has four elevations, with a fifth narrow elevation. All of the elevations differ from each other. The building is located on the western portion of a block bounded by Westlake Avenue, Stewart Street, Olive Way and 6th Avenue. Its eastern elevation overlooks a parking lot, which faces 6th Avenue. The building’s design relies on a number of signature elements and materials: glazed bays, rectangular pinkish-brown ceramic tiles (speckled with darker brown dots), dark polished granite, as well as a finer grained, light colored marble, which is almost white. The building mainly has a flat roof and a parapet. This parapet, which is clad in pink-brown ceramic tile, is mostly set back from the main portion of each elevation, except in the case of the eastern elevation. A longer western elevation facing Westlake consists primarily of repeated glazed bays, framed by piers, which are faced in light marble veneer and a continuous concrete lintel, which is also faced with the same stone. The typical glazed bay is very long and vertical and divided into three in both directions. Below the glazed portion of each bay, is a high, slightly recessed sill, faced in dark granite. Adjoining the Westlake elevation, is the south facing, broken Olive Way facade, which consists of two angled elevations. The western Olive Way elevation includes a corner glazed bay, followed by a wider bay, which includes a virtually central entry with a low projecting surround, also clad in light marble. This angled elevation ends in another vertical, glazed bay. Around the projecting entry surround and between the two end bays, the elevation is clad in dark polished granite. The eastern Olive Way elevation is set at about a 150 degree angle from the western elevation and consists of the typical repeated bays, with a partial recessed wall beginning at the top level of the eastern end. This wall is clad in pink-brown ceramic tile. In this area, at the southeast corner of the building, the structure is cut away to reveal a glazed back entry and walls faced in dark polished granite. The corner is supported by a large column, square in plan, which is also clad in dark stone. The main portion of the long east elevation is clad in ceramic tile. It is set above a slightly recessed, lower section, which includes dark granite cladding, and four window bays, set above slightly recessed sills, clad in contrasting light marble. This recessed section, begins at the south edge of the elevation and ends at about a third of the way from its north side, near Stewart Street. There are a few distinct, relatively small, punched openings, set high up on the pink ceramic tile clad façade. The fifth elevation consists of several narrow angled subsections, which combine typical elements seen in the other facades, including narrower, vertical glazed bays and walls expanses clad in ceramic tile.

Detail for 500 Olive WAY / Parcel ID 0659000380 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Ceramic tile, Glass - Curtain Wall, Stone Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat, Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Business Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Changes to Windows: Intact
Storefront: Intact
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, ed. Shaping Seattle Architecture, A Historical Guide to the Architects. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.

Photo collection for 500 Olive WAY / Parcel ID 0659000380 / Inv #

Photo taken Feb 27, 2006

Photo taken Jul 24, 2006
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