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Summary for 815 4th AVE / Parcel ID 545780-1250 / Inv # UP012

Historic Name: Seattle Public Schools Administrative Building Common Name: same
Style: Modern - International Style Neighborhood: Queen Anne
Built By: J. Lister Holmes Year Built: 1946
 
Significance
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).
UPDATE: The Seattle School District relocated its headquarters and sold this building; it was demolished in 2004 for construction of an assisted living facility for the elderly. Aside from its importance as the Seattle School District headquarters, this building (built between 1946-48) is significant as an important work of J. Lister Holmes, one of the Northwest's best known Modernist architects. This complex was built shortly after World War II, making it one of Seattle's first major International Style buildings, if not the first such building. During the 1950s and into the 1960s the style had a tremendous impact on the city's streetscape, with numerous examples appearing in all types of buildings. J. Lister Holmes, a native Seattleite, received his degree in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania in 1913. In 1920 he returned to Seattle, working for several local firms before establishing his own practice in 1922. His Beaux-Arts training at Penn enabled him to design a considerable number of eclectic and revival style homes for prominent citizens. During the Depression, however, he began designing houses in the newly-developing international Style. In 1939 he served as chief architect for the Seattle Housing Authority's first public housing project, Yesler Terrace, in which he was able to use the simplicity and lack of ornamentation of the new style to advantage. After the war, he continued his work in the International Style, designing clinics, banks and schools as well as houses. In the 1950s-60s he designed several West Coast facilities for the United Parcel Service, before his retirement. He died in Seattle in 1986.
 
Appearance
This building complex encompasses an entire block at the foot of Queen Anne hill. The connected wings are clad in Roman brick with large expanses of glass with metal sash. The two-story glass entry pavilion is on the east elevation; the main lobby and stairs are visible from the outside. To the north is a small one-story Roman brick wing, covered with vines. The main section of the building on the east elevation, south of the entry pavilion, is two stories, clad in Roman brick, with bands of metal-framed windows. The building extends to the west a two-story section, with two floors of offices with ribbons of windows. The rear section of the block has a brick arcade, with a courtyard in the center. The southern portion of the block has a separate brick building with garage entry, connected to the main building with a single-story wing.

Detail for 815 4th AVE / Parcel ID 545780-1250 / Inv # UP012

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Other
Building Type: Government - Government office Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Steel No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Education
Integrity
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
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.

Photo collection for 815 4th AVE / Parcel ID 545780-1250 / Inv # UP012


Photo taken Aug 12, 2002
App v2.0.1.0