The soaring Space Needle may be the first thing you think of when you envision Seattle’s skyline.
But in our booming city, the Needle is just the tip of the iceberg. Seattle’s architecture is legendarily lovely, from the grandeur of the Smith Tower, to the exhilaration of new buildings like Amazon’s Spheres, to the gravitas of historic buildings like Washington Hall.
Seattle’s architecture runs the gamut of style, with great views everywhere you look – and there are some bold, beautiful additions on their way.
This week, the Seattle Architecture Foundation celebrates the 20th anniversary of its Annual Architectural Model Exhibit. This free public gallery exhibition is an eye-opening look behind the scenes of future Seattle.
Architects’ models can show beautiful, intricate details of how designers imagine and plan Seattle buildings and public spaces. Inspired by the Model Exhibit, here are a few Seattle destinations that you can see right now, paired with new designs in progress!
Architecture Firm: Olson Kundig
Thompson Seattle Courtesy Olson Kundig
See it now:
The Thompson Seattle is a new boutique hotel steps from Pike Place Market. With an energetic, modernist façade and an open courtyard, this gem was recently named one of 75 most exciting hotels in the world by Condé Nast Traveler. What a perfect place to stay for the design-savvy traveler!
Space Needle’s Century Project model Courtesy Olson Kundig
See it later:
Olson Kundig is giving the Space Needle a much-needed preservation and renovation treatment. Their Century Project includes a new circulation stair that will link all three upper levels of the Space Needle and create a dramatic view down through a glass floor! Not to worry – the Space Needle will be open to the public throughout its renovation.
Architecture Firm: LMN Architects
Benaroya Hall Courtesy LMN Architects
See it now:
Home of the Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall is a crown jewel in Seattle’s thriving downtown core, a hub for music lovers with a design that puts culture and civic life side by side. From the circular main lobby, expansive bay windows turn the whole building into a “lantern” at night.
4/C Tower model Courtesy LMN Architects
See it later:
Not content with a wholesale transformation of the Washington State Convention Center during its upcoming expansion, LMN Architects are designing the new 4/C Tower downtown. This will be one of the tallest buildings in the United States, at 90 stories and 1,029 feet from 4th Avenue – with brand-new views of downtown and the Puget Sound.
Hungry for more great architecture during your Seattle visit? Secret treasures abound, and not just in downtown or Seattle Center.
Seattle neighborhoods are filled with design gems, like Queen Anne’s Gable House, a former mansion that’s almost as old as the city itself; Seattle Center’s MoPOP (Museum of Pop Culture) constructed with iridescent aluminum shingles; or Seattle Public Library’s Central Library in downtown, which is just as interesting in structure as it is in substance. Make sure you don’t miss a thing by hopping on one of Seattle Architecture Foundation‘s regular community walking tours available throughout the year to explore more in places around the city.
And don’t forget to visit the new Center for Architecture & Design in Pioneer Square for a full schedule of the Seattle Design Festival, with many free events happening across Seattle for design lovers through September 22, 2017.