Home Page
Link to Seattle Department of Neighborhoods home page

Seattle Historical Sites

New Search

Summary for 305 Harrison ST / Parcel ID 1985200003 / Inv # CTR015

Historic Name: Sweden Pavilion, International Commerce & Industry Buildings Common Name: Northwest Craft Center
Style: Modern Neighborhood: Queen Anne
Built By: Year Built: 1962
This building was built in 1961-62 as part of the complex of International Commerce & Industry Buildings surrounding the Washington State Coliseum. This area was known as the International Plaza while another grouping of buildings to the north was called the International Mall. The fair’s primary architect, Paul Thiry, designed both the Coliseum and the buildings surrounding it. This facility was originally constructed as a temporary building and was not intended for extended use after the completion of the fair. In keeping with the fair’s emphasis on science and technology, the five Worlds of Century 21 included the World of Commerce and Industry, which would showcase national and international achievements in commerce and industry since the dawn of the Space Age. With funding from King County, the fair’s organizers, Century 21 Exposition, Inc., built rent-free exhibit space as an enticement for foreign nations to participate in the fair. The exhibits would combine a hodgepodge of lofty ideals for the future and merchandise available for sale in the present. Grouped by nation of origin rather than by other categories, the official government displays were to exhibit the country’s latest industrial discoveries and commercial achievements. The participants were also encouraged to present their plans for dealing with the problems envisioned for the future. Finally, they were invited to show off their more popular trading goods as well as their national tourist attractions. Early on in their planning efforts, the organizers had believed that international participation was essential for a successful fair. It would also increase Seattle’s profile and prestige to host an official world’s fair. In order to receive this designation, the organizers had to submit a formal bid to the Paris-based Bureau of International Expositions. The Paris Convention of 1928 had established the Bureau of International Expositions to regulate the conduct and scheduling of international expositions in which foreign nations were officially invited to participate. Under the rules of the organization, member nations could not ordinarily participate in an international exposition unless the Bureau had approved the exposition. There were difficulties inherent in the process, including the fact that the United States was not a member of the organization at that time and would not become one until April 1968. Many of the members also had no idea where Seattle was located or even how to pronounce it correctly. Despite the difficulties, the Bureau officially approved Seattle’s bid to host a world’s fair in November 1960, paving the way for foreign participation. Designation as a world’s fair did not ensure foreign exhibitors, especially with the planned fair in New York in 1964 on the horizon. With the offer of rent-free exhibit space, however, the organizers eventually attracted fourteen foreign governments, an alliance, and several international groups. The governmental exhibitors included the countries of Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Philippines, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Sweden, Thailand, and the United Arab Republic. Obviously, this list did not include any of our Cold War enemies of that time. The European Community, the six-nation trade organization known as the Common Market, included Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Several international groups also participated, including a consortium of newly independent African nations, the American Committee of the United Nations, San Marino, and the City of Berlin. During the fair, this building contained the Government of Sweden Pavilion. After the conclusion of the fair in October 1962, the building was leased to the Northwest Craft Center the following year and has since featured the work of local and national artists in ceramics, sculpture, painting, jewelry, glass, prints, and more. This building is significant for its associations with the Seattle World’s Fair Century 21 Exposition and with the development of Seattle Center.
Completed in 1962, this one-story concrete and steel frame structure occupies a site near the northwest corner of the Seattle Center, which would have been near the southwest corner of the intersection of 2nd Avenue North and Republican Street. This building features a rectangular plan, which measures 152 feet by 31 feet. The overhanging flat roof has exposed trusses and extends one bay beyond the northern end of the building to cover an adjoining flight of stairs. The east and west elevations of the original building have fifteen structural bays while the north and south have three. On the principal east elevation, a full height window wall increases in height from south to north as the ground level slopes down. Alternating bays either have a single large window or a pair of windows separated by a wood mullion above the concrete bulkheads. Wood panels fill the transom window openings below the roofline and between the narrow concrete piers. Double glass entrance doors are located in the southern end bay, the center bay, and the fifth bay from the northern end. The north and south end walls each have three concrete panels separated by incised lines and embellished with a decorative pattern. Most of the rear west elevation is covered by a screened area, which contains mechanical equipment for heating and cooling. Fifteen concrete panels separated by incised lines cover the west elevation. Of all the remaining exhibit buildings from the Seattle World’s Fair Century 21 Exposition, this structure retains the most physical integrity.

Detail for 305 Harrison ST / Parcel ID 1985200003 / Inv # CTR015

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Concrete, Other 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, Arts, Commerce, Community Planning/Development, Entertainment/Recreation
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
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 # CTR015

Photo taken Nov 14, 2000
App v2.0.1.0