Some of Seattle’s architecture inspires the same awe as the snow-capped peaks and pristine waterways that surround the city. From modern buildings to landmarks that date back to the early beginnings of the city, check out nine of the best examples of architecture in the city.
Experience Music Project Seattle Center
Designed by Frank Gehry; built in 2000.
This museum is dedicated to rock music. So it’s fitting that an early model took shape when Gehry deconstructed several electric guitars and used the pieces as building components. Take photos of the 21,000 metal shingles, each a unique shape, which appear to be different colors depending on how the light hits them.
Designed by Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Ramus, Office for Metropolitan Architecture; built in 2004.
This is the type of library that almost makes it hard to read — it’s housed in a building that is just that striking. The design was conceived as five stacked boxes, which were staggered to allow maximum light into the building. Take photos inside the triangular Fifth Avenue entrance, which showcases a curtain of windows reflecting diamond-shaped light onto the floor.
Designed by Edwin H. and T. Walker Gaggin; built in 1914.
This 42-story building was meant to be the tallest skyscraper west of the Mississippi, a title it held for 17 years.
The pointed cap is its most recognizable feature. Its triangular windows open into a penthouse apartment — the building’s only residence. Take the manually operated elevators to the observation deck and Chinese Room on the 35th floor for panoramic views of the city.
Designed by Charles Reed and Allen Stem; built in 1906.
The station’s 250-foot clock tower was modeled after Venice, Italy’s Piazza de San Marco’s bell tower.
Ornate ceilings, wainscoting and mosaic tile work covered up in a 1960s renovation are starting to emerge during a current restorative renovation.
Designed by Steven Holl; built in 1997.
Holl, who also designed the beautiful Bellevue Arts Museum, imagined the chapel as “seven bottles of light in a stone box,” with each bottle representing a component of Catholic worship. At night, admire the different colors of light as they shine out like a beacon from the chapel.
Designed by Robert C. Reamer; built in 1926.
The elaborate interior was inspired by Imperial China’s Forbidden City and other dynastic marvels. The craftsmanship of the theater’s ceiling is breathtaking, with vibrant, layered carvings and a chandelier that dangles from the mouth of a giant dragon.
Designed by Minoru Yamasaki; built in 1977.
The building was designed as a unique inverted pyramid, in part to reduce its footprint and make more room for pedestrians. It may be even simpler to figure out how the structure’s shape inspired two nicknames: the Wine Glass and the Beaver Building (perhaps suggesting one nibbled at its base).