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Summary for 500 30th AVE / Parcel ID 1250201500 / Inv # FAC001

Historic Name: Sunrise House Common Name: Central Area Senior Center (CASC)
Style: Modern Neighborhood: Central Area
Built By: Year Built: 1959
The Christian Science Church constructed this building in 1959 as a non-profit nursing home facility named Sunrise House in a residential neighborhood of single family homes. The architecture firm of Durham, Anderson & Freed designed this nursing home near the end of their first decade in practice together. After a ten-year partnership with noted Seattle architect Bertram Dudley Stuart from 1941 to 1951, Robert Durham had practiced on his own for a brief period before joining with David R. Anderson and Aaron Freed to form their firm. Best known for the design of churches, for which they received considerable local and national attention, the partnership’s projects also included schools, banks, residences, and master plans. They also designed public buildings, such as the Southwest Branch of the Seattle Public Library in 1961 and Fire Station No. 5 in 1963. The Modern design for this building is typical of their work, especially in the integration of the building’s form and structure and in the clear legibility between exterior forms and finishes and interior functions. The building’s design and siting take full advantage of the fabulous views of Lake Washington to the southeast, but also help to mitigate the presence of a large institutional facility in a residential neighborhood of older single family homes. This building was operated as a nursing home for about fifteen years before the City of Seattle acquired it in 1975 for use as the Central Area Senior Center. Sunrise House/New Haven, the non-profit corporation, which owned the building, sold the facility to the city at two-thirds of the appraised fair market value and donated the value of the remaining third. After preparing plans, specifications and cost estimates, the city converted the building for use as a senior center with funding from the State of Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services under the Social and Health Facilities Bond Issue Act. Currently, the Central Area Senior Center is one of three facilities owned by the city but operated by Senior Services of Seattle/King County, a non-profit agency serving seniors in the Seattle/King County area since 1967. The other two facilities, the Greenwood Senior Center and the Northwest Senior Center, are also located in buildings acquired by the city during the 1970s for the same purpose. The city leased this building to Senior Services to operate the senior center within three years of its acquisition and renovation. With its Modern stylistic features, this building is significant for its design by a prominent local firm and for its association with the provision of services to the city’s senior citizens.
Completed in 1959, this Modern one-story brick building is set at an angle in the center portion of a large parcel between 30th and 31st Avenues South at South King Street. A circular drive lined with parking spaces crosses the northwest corner of the site, which is attractively landscaped. The eastern third of the site has a steep slope covered with vegetation. Three sections comprise the flat roof building’s irregular footprint. A higher section at the center with a trapezoidal plan connects an L-plan block on the northern end and a rectangular plan block at the southern end. The L-plan block at the northern end has a lower basement level, which opens onto a grassy area with picnic tables off the northeast elevation. A flat roof extends across this elevation and covers openings set within four recessed bays between five wide brick panels. On the upper floor and at the end bays of the lower level, a single large opening contains a wide center window flanked by narrow sash. The two center bays of the lower level contain a smaller window adjacent to an entrance door. The recessed bays have a stucco finish above and below these openings. The northwest elevation of this section has double metal entrance doors at the center of a blank brick wall and two windows near the adjoining section at the center of the building. With the exception of the rear elevation, narrow windows line the walls of the center section’s higher penthouse below the roofline. A flat roof canopy extends to the edge of the drive and covers the wide glass entrance door flanked with sidelights. Wood panels set with decorative glass are situated on either side of the sidelights. The wall east of the entrance has a large plate glass window while the wall to the west has a large opening set with obscured glass. The rectangular plan block at the southern end has a long narrow window opening at the northern end of the west elevation. At the southern end of the elevation, a flat overhanging roof covers an entrance door and three window openings set in the recessed bays between the brick panels. The long curved rear elevation, which faces southeast towards Mount Rainier, is lined with windows, decks, balconies, and screened porches. Well maintained, this Modern building retains excellent physical integrity.

Detail for 500 30th AVE / Parcel ID 1250201500 / Inv # FAC001

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Stucco Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Domestic - Institutional Housing Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Unknown No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Health/Medicine
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Plan: 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.
City Council Bills and Ordinances, Seattle City Clerk's Office Legislative Databases (

Photo collection for 500 30th AVE / Parcel ID 1250201500 / Inv # FAC001

Photo taken Nov 09, 2000
App v2.0.1.0