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Summary for 215 8th AVE / Parcel ID 1991201100 / Inv #

Historic Name: Office Building for J. Lister Holmes Common Name: Holly Press
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).
This is an example of early Seattle Modernist architecture, designed by an acclaimed Northwest architect. The stacked red brick wall at the lower level originally may have continued below the large square piece of glass on the south side of the second floor, but other changes seem to be minor. According to original construction drawings, the building was designed by the architecture firm of J. Lister Holmes McClure Adkison in 1954 as an “Office Building for J. Lister Holmes.” J. Lister Holmes was a renowned Seattle architect, originally educated according to the Beaux Arts curriculum of the University of Pennsylvania, where he received an architecture degree in 1913. The work of his early career reflected his architectural education and he designed in a variety of historical styles, producing Collinswood at the Bloedel Reserve in 1930-32 (with an addition in the 1950s) in a French Manor Style and the O. W. Fisher, Jr. Residence at Broadmoor, in a style inspired by Norman farm houses. By the mid-1930s, he was also able to transition to International Style Modernism. While still engaged in designing according to historical styles, he produced a Modernist dental clinic in Seattle in 1936 (the Weinir Dental Clinic, now destroyed). He designed a string of well-known Modernist buildings in Seattle, including the Seattle Public Schools Administration Building of 1946-1948, considered one of the better examples of local International Style Modernism. Between 1940 and 1943, he was also the chief architect for Seattle’s Yesler Terrace, an important, early affordable housing project. 215 8th Avenue North shows an appreciation of International Style Modernism, but also reflects notions of scale and proportion, possibly derived from his early education at the University of Pennsylvania. Not long before this building was designed, between 1950 and 1952, Holmes also worked as a planner and was responsible for the “Fort Lewis Peacetime Development Master Plan.” He was elected a fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1955. During the 1960s, although his intention was to reduce his workload, he still produced a series of Modernist buildings for the United Parcel Service in Seattle and in several California cities, as well as projects for special clients. He died in 1986. Holmes himself added a parking garage to the back of this building in 1966. In 1978, the building was altered for use as a print shop. Presently, it still houses the Holly Press. Present property records still list a “ J. L. Holmes” as the owner of the building.
215 8th North St is located between the Denny Park Lutheran Church and 223 8th Avenue North on the west side of 8th Avenue North between Thomas and John Streets. It is a two-story building with a rectangular footprint of 60 feet along 8th Avenue North by approximately 65 feet. According to original construction drawings, the structure is mainly wood frame, although the exterior north wall, adjoining 223 8th Avenue North, is of concrete block and the first floor of the east, main façade is constructed of brick masonry. The building has a flat roof, with no parapet and the main 8th Avenue North façade is the only elevation visible from the street. At the ground floor level, from north to south, more than half of the main façade, which is recessed below the plane of the second floor façade, has a high wall of stacked red brick, topped by a ribbon of windows, alternatively rectangular and square. This is followed by two bays of glazing at the same height as the brick wall, surmounted by two rectangular clerestory panes, at the same level as the ribbon fenestration. At the end of this is large opening, through which the side of an open stair with open treads can be seen. At the second floor, the façade presents a steel frame wall with glazing, as well a solid material, in various sizes of rectangles and squares. According to original construction drawings, the non-glazed material was originally cement asbestos board, which may have been replaced. Judging by the nature of some of the squares and rectangles on the entire facade, the proportion of some of the rectangles to squares, suggests that the design may have evolved from experimentation with Golden Section proportions and dividing existing squares in half or doubling squares. The elevation is open at the south end.

Detail for 215 8th AVE / Parcel ID 1991201100 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Brick, Concrete, Glass - Curtain Wall, Metal, Wood Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Professional Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Mixed No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Windows: Slight
Changes to Plan: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, ed. Shaping Seattle Architecture, A Historical Guide to the Architects. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.
City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development Microfilm Records.

Photo collection for 215 8th AVE / Parcel ID 1991201100 / Inv #

Photo taken Feb 17, 2005
App v2.0.1.0