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Summary for 703 Bellevue AVE / Parcel ID 216390-0440 / Inv #

Historic Name: Bel Roy Apartments Common Name: Bel Roy Apartments
Style: Modern Neighborhood: Capitol Hill
Built By: Year Built: 1931
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 is one of Seattle's earliest and most significant Modernistic apartment buildings. It was built at the very end of the era, as the Depression was completely halting multifamily development. While the typical terra cotta-ornamented brick boxes persisted into the early 1930s, by the late 1920s some buildings exhibited more modern features. This one is particularly notable for its west fa├žade, which uses triangular bay windows with steel sash and a zigzag floor plan to maximize views of downtown and Lake Union. The architects Lionel Pries and William J. Bain were among the most influential in the city. Pries (1897-1968) attended the University of California at Berkeley and received his graduate degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania in 1921. After studying in Europe, he established a practice in San Francisco, working especially on commercial buildings in Santa Barbara following the 1925 earthquake there. He came to Seattle in 1928, working in partnership with his former classmate :William J. Bain, Sr. H began teaching at the University of Washington School of Architecture, and taught full-time there after the partnership dissolved in 1932. . Following his departure from the university in 1958, he worked with several local firms. He was most t influential as an educator, but is also well known for his Modernistic residences throughout the Puget Sound area. William J. Bain, Sr., who also graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1921, returned to Seattle to establish, eventually, what is now one of the largest architectural firms in the world, now known as NBBJ. His residences and apartment buildings used a wide range of architectural idioms, from 18th-century French and English and Georgian Revival to Streamline Moderne. His other apartment buildings of the period include the Envoy and the Consulate. During World War II he became state camouflage director, and was responsible for making the main Boeing aircraft plant look like a residential suburb from the air. It was in 1943 that the original partners of NBBJ began working together. Bain also formed a separate partnership with Harrison Overturf to design residences, often combining the Colonial revival with Modern design.
This building is L-shaped in plan, with all four entries opening onto a narrow courtyard along the north side. In contrast to other buildings of the time, the entries are very simple and none open onto the street directly. Cladding is red brick, with the horizontal bands and spandrels between the windows painted gray. The only ornament is rows of angled bricks above and below the windows and at the parapet. The most notable feature is the southwest/west elevation, which has sawtooth triangular bay windows staggered in a zigzag floor plan to give views to each unit. The concrete foundation is visible on the sloping south elevation, with a garage entry. Windows are all 15-light steel sash with operable casements in the center.

Detail for 703 Bellevue AVE / Parcel ID 216390-0440 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Domestic - Multiple Family Plan: L-Shape
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: three
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects. Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, ed. 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 703 Bellevue AVE / Parcel ID 216390-0440 / Inv #

Photo taken Mar 30, 2006

Photo taken Mar 30, 2006
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