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Summary for 305 Harrison ST / Parcel ID 1985200003 / Inv # CTR013

Historic Name: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Building Common Name: NASA Warehouse
Style: Modern Neighborhood: Queen Anne
Built By: Year Built: 1962
This building was constructed in 1961-62 to house the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) exhibit for the Seattle World’s Fair Century 21 Exposition. The NASA exhibit was located in a building at the southwest corner of the International Plaza containing the International Commerce and Industry Buildings, which was part of the World of Commerce and Industry. With funding from King County, the fair’s organizers constructed this building along with the other buildings surrounding the Washington State Coliseum, all of which were designed by the fair’s primary architect, Paul Thiry. This facility was originally constructed as a temporary building and was not intended for extended use after the completion of the fair. Unlike the other buildings in the complex, this building was considered part of the World of Science along with the United States Science Pavilion, which now houses the Pacific Science Center. In keeping with the fair’s emphasis on science and technology, the U.S. Science Pavilion was the primary focus of the World of Science and had been funded by a $9,900,000 appropriation from the federal government. Through the influence of Washington State Senators Warren G. Magnuson and Henry M. Jackson, the federal government had passed Public Law 85-880 in August 1958. This approved the necessary funding to study the extent of federal participation in the fair and designated the Department of Commerce as the lead agency. It was determined that $12,500,000 would be required to construct, develop exhibits, and staff a United States Science Pavilion. When it proved difficult to obtain the entire amount authorized, Magnuson suggested adding a request for $9,000,000 to the Mutual Security Bill, an existing appropriations bill, to cover immediate expenses. The rest could be appropriated at a later session. The tactic worked with the passage of the bill in September 1959, and Minoru Yamasaki was selected as the architect. An additional $900,000 was later appropriated. Magnuson also helped to persuade NASA to provide a space show in the pavilion built by King County. Showing the peaceful exploration of space, the NASA exhibit was the agency’s first attempt to tell graphically the story of the United States’ space program. Introductory displays telling the history of NASA and the goals of the agency were followed by sections devoted to satellites, rocketry, and the United States’ manned space program. A highlight of the exhibit was the Friendship 7 spacecraft in which Commander John H. Glenn, Jr. made the first American human orbital flight the same year on February 20, 1962. The Project Mercury capsule was put on display on August 6, 1962 at the end of a 24-nation global tour where it was seen by more than 8,000,000 people. The NASA exhibit was the only place the historic space capsule was displayed in the United States before it was moved to the Smithsonian Institution after the fair. During the final months, Astronaut John Glenn also paid a visit to the fair to the delight of many youngsters. A small theater near the entrance offered continuous showings of films on space explorations, astronomy, and rocketry, some of which were being shown publicly for the first time. Held at the beginning of a decade of remarkable achievements and advancements by NASA, this exhibit would have been the first introduction to space exploration for many. After the conclusion of fair in October 1962, this building was used primarily for storage. Currently, the NASA building provides storage space for the adjacent Key Arena. This building is significant for its associations with the introduction of space exploration in the early 1960s and with the Seattle World’s Fair Century 21 Exposition.
Completed in 1962, this one-story concrete and steel frame structure occupies the southwest corner of the Seattle Center at the intersection of 1st Avenue North and Thomas Street. Set on a high foundation, this building was substantially larger originally and featured an L-plan. In the late 1990s, the longer eastern half of the building, which measured 160 feet by 71 feet, was removed, creating the current rectangular plan structure. The building’s footprint now measures 121 feet by 71 feet. The overhanging flat roof has exposed trusses. Twelve concrete panels separated by incised lines cover the east and west elevations while seven panels cover the north and south. On the east elevation, all but two of the twelve panels feature a decorative pattern in the concrete. An overhead door has been installed in a large recessed opening at the center. The south elevation has seven plain panels with no window or door openings. The west elevation also has no openings but does have ten embellished panels between plain end panels. The north elevation has two embellished panels at the western end. An entrance door at the western end opens onto a small parking area. Well maintained, this highly altered building has attractive landscaping but poor physical integrity.

Detail for 305 Harrison ST / Parcel ID 1985200003 / Inv # CTR013

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Concrete, Stucco Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Recreation and Culture - Museum Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Steel No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Community Planning/Development, Entertainment/Recreation, Science & Engineering
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Changes to Plan: Extensive
Changes to Original Cladding: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Architecture/West. An Architect's Guidebook to the Seattle World's Fair, 1962. Seattle, WA: Pacific Builder and Engineer, v. 68, no. 4, April 1962.
Morgan, Murray. Century 21, The Story of the Seattle World's Fair, 1962. Seattle, WA: Acme Press, distributed by University of Washington Press, 1963.
Official Guide Book Seattle Worlds Fair 1962. Seattle, WA: Acme Publications Incorporated, c1962.

Photo collection for 305 Harrison ST / Parcel ID 1985200003 / Inv # CTR013

Photo taken Nov 14, 2000
App v2.0.1.0