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Adventures in Architecture

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Seattle is infused with distinctive design, from sleek skyscrapers to historic brick buildings. The city’s architectural gems span style, time, and taste, for plenty of eye candy no matter where you look.

A must-see is the Seattle Central Library (*1000 Fourth Ave; spl.org), designed by renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus, who grew up in Seattle. With winding aisles and honeycomb windows, the structure was named one of the 150 favorite buildings in the country by the American Institute of Architects.

Another design rock star is the colorful Museum of Pop Culture (*325 Fifth Ave N; mopop.org). Designed by the legendary Frank Gehry, the building exterior features 21,000 aluminum and stainless steel shingles that shine in the sunlight. For something more intimate, visit Seattle University’s Chapel of St. Ignatius (901 12th Ave; seattleu.edu/chapel), designed by local architect Steven Holl. Step inside the striking structure, where colored glass bathes the space in myriad hues.

Head back in time at Smith Tower (*506 Second Ave; smithtower.com), the city’s first skyscraper. Built in 1914, it reopened in 2016 following a thorough refurbishing. Ride the copper-and-brass elevator to the 35th floor for stunning views and the speakeasy-style Temperance bar.

Further your architectural explorations around the city with a Seattle Architecture Foundation (seattlearchitecture.org) tour. The year-round, two-hour walking tours feature various themes. Favorites include art deco, historic Pioneer Square, and the mansions of Capitol Hill. Look for a new waterfront option launching in spring 2017.

Round out your design tour by visiting Peter Miller (2326 Second Ave; petermiller.com), the city’s only architecture-exclusive book shop. Find coffee table books about design, plus stylish housewares and gifts.

 

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