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Summary for 405 Fairview AVE / Parcel ID 1983200625 / Inv #

Historic Name: Addressograph Multigraph Agency Common Name: Scanner
Style: Modern - International Style Neighborhood: South Lake Union
Built By: Year Built: 1954
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
The construction drawings for this building were produced and stamped by architect and engineer Henry Bittman, late in his life and career, and also bear the stamped name of the firm “Bittman Adams & Sanders.” Bittman died in late 1953 and the building was completed in 1954, after Bittman’s death, for the Addressograph Multigraph Agency. Based on the original construction drawings, the building included not only offices and a sales department, but also a large “demonstration” area, directly accessible through the double doors of the main façade. A “camera room,” “dark room,” “plate processing area” and vacuum frame area were located in the projecting, west wing of the building. This is Modernist building, designed for an industrial purpose by an architect and engineer, long associated with many Seattle buildings, designed according to historical styles. Bittman Adams & Sanders had clearly made a successful transition to Modernism, but Bittman and his associates are perhaps more well-known for Beaux Arts and Mission Style inspired buildings, many of which are Seattle landmarks. Henry Bittman’s office was responsible for many beautifully designed terra cotta clad buildings in Seattle, particularly in Seattle’s downtown during the 1920s. Bittman was born in the early 1880s and grew up in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. His initial education focused on structural engineering. He appears to have attended both Cooper Union and Pratt Institute (Brooklyn) in New York and very possibly the Armour Institute in Chicago. When he arrived in Seattle in 1906, he worked as a bridge designer and in 1907, he started a short-lived partnership with William Kingsley, an architect. By 1908, Bittman had his own engineering practice. He was licensed as an architect in 1923, and his office became especially successful in the 1920s. The terra cotta clad Terminal Sales Building was completed in the same year; however, one the important designers in Bittman’s firm was Henry Adams, considered responsible for many of the more striking exterior designs and interior spaces produced by the office, from the late 1900s onward. Employed for a time by John Graham, Sr., Adams also played an important role in the design of the Frederick and Nelson Department Store; however, after the late 1920s, Adams seems to have been associated with Bittman. In addition to the Terminal Sales Building, among the notable buildings designed by the Bittman firm in Seattle, still standing and reasonably intact are: the Decatur Building (1921), the Olympic Tower (ca. 1929), the Eagles Auditorium (1924-25), the Hubbel Building (1922) and the 1929-1931 addition to the King County Courthouse.
This is a one story building, with brick walls, and a T-shaped plan. Its continuous east façade is along Fairview Avenue North, with a long north-south bar behind it. The south elevation of this bar has similar elements. To the back of the building, the west elevation on the south portion of the bar and the facing south elevation of the west wing, (perpendicular to the bar), are more utilitarian elevations, but are also repeat many of the elements of the main façade. The main façade is clad in brick and has a concrete coping at the top of the parapet. Aluminum sash windows, consisting of groupings of vertical rows of three rectangular panes, are defining features of the design. The windows are set high up from grade and define two bays located to the south of the main entry and three bays to the north. The first bays to each side of the entry consist of four sets of these vertical rows, followed to the south and to the north by a group of five rows of windows. To the north, there is an additional opening consisting of five of these rows. Below the windows is a shallow and continuous concrete sill. The main entryway, which is recessed, has a double door with clerestory, as well as three equal sidelites, located to each side of the double door. Of note, set to each side of the glazed entry, are planters, which in plan, gently curve in toward this entry. The face of the planters is a very low, curving concrete wall, with a veneer of header bricks and an overhanging concrete cap. Another defining feature is the deep, cantilevered, concrete overhang, set directly above the window bays, and the flat parapet which rises several feet above the overhang, ending with a concrete coping. Both the standard fenestration and overhang are continued along the adjacent south elevation. This elevation includes two wide rectangular openings, the eastern one, made up of five rows of three vertical panes and the western one of four of these rows. The sill under these openings is a continuation of sill of the east façade. On the back of this south wing of building, the west elevation has similar fenestration consisting of four rows of four vertical window panes and then five rows, with a long expanse of wall with no openings to the south. The facing south elevation is more utilitarian and includes a service door accessed by a low concrete platform with steps. Aside from possible changes in the configuration of the sidelites at the main entry, the building exterior appears to be completely intact and follows exactly the design, as shown in the original construction drawings, down to the fenestration and the detailing of the service entry.

Detail for 405 Fairview AVE / Parcel ID 1983200625 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Brick - Roman Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Warehouse Plan: T-Shape
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Manufacturing/Industry
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Storefront: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
Drawings, Microfiche Files, Department of Planning and Development.
Link, Karin, “Architect and Engineer: Henry Bittman,” Impressions of Imagination: Terra Cotta Seattle. Seattle: Allied Arts, 1986.
Provost, Caterina, “Henry Bittman, in Ochsner, Jeffrey ” Shaping Seattle Architecture.” Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.

Photo collection for 405 Fairview AVE / Parcel ID 1983200625 / Inv #

Photo taken Jun 04, 2005

Photo taken Jun 04, 2005
App v2.0.1.0