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Summary for 2576 Aurora AVE / Parcel ID 192930-0440 / Inv #

Historic Name: Canlis Common Name: Canlis
Style: Modern - Northwest Regional Neighborhood: Queen Anne
Built By: Year Built: 1950
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places.
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
This unusual restaurant building is notable both as an important early Modernistic design and as one of Seattle’s best-known and longest-established restaurants. Canlis was founded in 1950 by Peter Canlis (1913-77). Canlis, the son of Greek immigrants, worked in his father’s café in California, moving to Hawaii in the late 1930s. During World War II he ran the United Services Organization’s food services in Honolulu. After the war he opened a small sidewalk restaurant there, but moved to Seattle to expand his operation. He selected a view site outside of downtown and hired a young architect, Roland Terry, to design a one-of-a-kind building to capitalize on the view. Key features of the building are the edge-of –the-hill location and the span of windows angled upward and outward to prevent glare. On the interior, the sense of movement from level to level, a large fireplace of stone from Mount Baker, and a copper broiler in the enter of the dining room are important features. Following Peter Canlis’ death in 1977, his son Chris took over management of the restaurant. It has continued to maintain a reputation for fine food and service. The building underwent minor alterations in 1953 by Tucker and Shields and in 1958 by Terry himself. It was updated again in 1997 by architects Jim Cutler and Doug Rasar. However, most changes have been on the interior and the essence of the design has not been altered. Architect Roland Terry was born in Seattle in 1917 and graduated from the University of Washington’s architecture program in 1940. He worked with Lister Holmes before joining the military. Following the war, in 1946, he formed a partnership with Bert A. Tucker and Robert M. Shields, doing primarily residential work. Terry was invited to work on the Canlis project by George Wimberly, a Honolulu architect whom Terry knew from the University of Washington. He asked Terry to conceptualize and then to complete the design in association with his firm, Wimberley & Cook, Architects. Terry left his partnership with Tucker and Shields in 1951, and entered into a new partnership with Philip A. Moore in 1952. They did a number of residences, for which Terry designed the gardens as well as the structures and participated with a designer in developing the interior layout and even the furniture. In addition to these residential designs, Terry & Moore designed several other restaurants for Walter Clark, the most prominent local restaurateur of the day. Of these, the Terrace Restaurant in Lakewood, Pierce County remains. Terry went into independent practice in 1960, continuing to do residential work. In 1964-69 he completed his largest design, Washington Park Towers, a high-rise condominium on Lake Washington. He also did additional restaurants for Peter Canlis in Honolulu, Portland (now Alexander’s) and at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco (destroyed). His third partnership was with Robert H. Egan (1974-87), who had a significant amount of hotel design experience; among their works were the interiors of the Halekulani Hotel in Honolulu. Terry was elected a Fellow of the AIUSA in 12980 and received the Seattle Chapter Medal in 1991. He is now semi-retired.
This building is designed to take advantage of its dramatic hillside site over lake Union. Its roofline is in the shape of a butterfly or an assymetrical vee, opening up toward the east. The east side and half of the north and south elevations are entirely of glass, with wide wood mullions; the walls jut outward and upward, with a brise soleil screen between the two stories. The glass-walled area is L-shaped, with the south end projecting further than the northern section. The round steel support posts are visible at the corners, anchoring the building. The deeply recessed entry is beneath a porte cochere near the southwest corner. The porte cochere wall and the entry surround are of dark, rough stone, contrasting with the lightness of the glass elsewhere. Cladding on the rear of the building is vertical boards, with board-and-batten cladding above on the mechanical penthouse.

Detail for 2576 Aurora AVE / Parcel ID 192930-0440 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Glass, Stone, Vertical - Board and Batten, Vertical - Boards Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Other Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Restaurant Plan: L-Shape
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: one & ½
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, ed. Shaping Seattle Architecture, A Historical Guide to the Architects. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
Henderson, Justin. Roland Terry: Master Northwest Architect. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2000.

Photo collection for 2576 Aurora AVE / Parcel ID 192930-0440 / Inv #

Photo taken Sep 29, 2004

Photo taken Sep 29, 2004
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