This Neo-expressionist style commercial building is in the Uptown neighborhood and known as the Century Building; designed for the Century Investment Company. It was designed by architects Bystrom and Greco in 1964. Structural engineering was done by Anderson-Bjornstad-Kane. The general contractor was Jentoft & Forbes. The permit to construct the building (507626) was issued on June 16, 1964. Seattle First National Bank was a corner anchor tenant from the beginning, with an entrance at 400 Queen Anne Avenue N on the west facade. The original drawings are on file with the City Department of Construction and Inspections.
The building was one of two structures in Washington State cited for excellence in the concrete-group awards in 1966 in an international competition sponsored by the Prestressed Concrete Institute. The Century Building was noted by the jury that “The building expresses its materials – prestressed concrete and brick – remarkably well in a thoroughly contemporary manner, [and that] a well-articulated plan separates the service core, providing clear, open office-rental space.”
Tenants listed in the 1965 Polk directory include: Acacia Mutual Life Insurance Co.; Alaska Pacific Sales Co. Wholesale Liquor; Christian Brothers Wholesale Liquor; Fund Administrative Associates; the office of Bystrom & Greco Architects; and Michalsen Singer & Co. Accountants.
Tenants in 1969 included: Alaska Pacific Sales Co.; Christian Brothers Wines; Western Washington Laborers Employers Trust Funds Credit Union; Acacia Mutual Life Insurance Co.; Land Sales Co.; Seattle Homes Land Development; Business Factors Inc.; Omega Development Co. (apartment construction); Arnie Bystrom Architect; Chester Sundt Accountant; Michalsen Singer & Company accountants.
Carl A. Bystrom (1927–2017) graduated from the University of Washington summa cum laude with an AIA Student Silver Medal for excellence in design in 1951. From ca. 1953 to 1957 he worked in Paul Thiry’s office. Bystrom worked briefly with Decker & Christiansen in 1957 before starting his own practice with James Greco in 1958. James Greco was also a graduate of the University of Washington College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Over the course of the firm’s career the architects earned more than 30 design awards and constructed a range of commercial buildings and single family residences in Washington and Idaho. Bystrom was a founding member of the Pike Place Market Historical Commission. The firm maintained an office in the Century Building, sharing an office with landscape architect William Teufel until 1967. After the firm dissolved, Carl (Arnie) Bystrom retained an office here through 1969.
The building retains a moderate level of integrity.
Documentation and Conservation of the Modern Movement, Western WA. Architect Biographies. (Accessed July 19, 2018). http://docomomo-wewa.org/architects_detail.php?id=137
‘Seattle Building, Chelan Bridge Win Concrete-Group Awards.’ Seattle Daily Times, August 28, 1966: 51.
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, ed., Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Guide to the Architects (Seattle, University of Washington Press: 2014), 2nd edition.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938–1972), Washington State Archives.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890–1996.
‘Bystrom & Greco In New Offices.’ Seattle Daily Times, March 07, 1965: 81.