Looking at Queen Anne’s Modern Sites

Modern Tour Poster, 2015

On June 20th the Queen Anne Historical Society provided it’s second modern tour. The Modern Tour started with a presentation by Jeff Murdock. Murdock is currently serving his second term on the City of Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board and Architectural Review Committee. Murdock presented the Queen Anne Pool, which was designed by Benjamin McAdoo & Co and completed in 1978. Murdock explained that the “construction of the building was controversial because it required the purchase and removal of ten homes, making it the most expensive Seattle Parks pool at $1.25 million.” The pool was a project in the second phase of McAdoo’s career and Murdock believes “his influence as an African American architect and activist for social change was significant in national as well as local contexts.”

Larson-Johnson House, 2015
Larson-Johnson House, 2015

The tour went on to meet architect Andrew Borges at the Larson Johnson Residence, located at 719 W Lee St. Borges is a partner of Rohleder Borges Architecture firm where they balance contemporary structures with a nod to tradition and craft. The design of the Larson Johnson Residence plays along with the firm’s balancing act by keeping the house close to the street and pushing the yard to the rear, in spite of the expansive views of the sound from the front. The firm smartly opened up a connection from the private back yard to the view of the sound through the center of the house.

The tour then moved to another view home at 1121 Bigelow Ave. Andrew van Leeuwen, a partner and lead architect at BUILD LLC presented the Desai Residence. BUILD LLC is a modern residential and commercial design-build firm with a popular blog (blog.buildllc.com) where they discuss modern design in the Pacific NW. Many of their posts include detailed insights into their projects, the Desai Residence included.

Desai House, 2015
Desai House, 2015

Next up the tour visited another favorite view from Queen Anne by stopping at The Block at 1709 Dexter Ave N. Architect Matthew Stannard, formerly a senior associate with Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects, presented The Block; he later formed Stannard Architects and the now current Stillwater Dwellings. The Block is a mixed-use condominium with 4 residential units and 2 live/work units at street level. The interior of each unit has a double height living space and a wood and steel stair that connect each floor to the roof deck. This project had the unfortunate experience of being completed at the start of the recession in 2008.

Finally the tour moved to Uptown for it’s last two projects. First was Eyeballs Eyewear at 166 Roy St. by Lane Williams. Williams is a Queen Anne resident and two-time modern tour presenter, he has been specializing in modern custom home design since 1992. With help from Williams, clients Milton McCrum & Paula Whelan turned a 1950’s commercial building into Milton’s optometry office on the ground floor with living spaces on the existing second floor and a newly constructed third floor.

Rotating the tour’s gaze across the street was The Power Control Center, the final stop. Michael Herschensohn, the President of the Queen Anne Historical Society discussed that The Power Control Center was designed by Harmon, Pray, & Detrich and completed in 1963. Herschensohn also mentioned it was a “single site from which City Light engineers could monitor the flow and distribution of electricity through the entire city.” The building was over built to minimize the effects of nuclear fallout for the occupants lucky enough to be inside.

MarQueen Hotel, 2015
MarQueen Hotel, 2015

The tour concluded with a reception at the Tin Lizzie Lounge with signature drinks named after Benjamin McAdoo, Jr. in honor of his service with USAID and his work to develop a concrete modular housing system to replace substandard housing in Jamaica in the 1960’s.

The McAdoo              The McAdon’t
Fresh Mint                   Fresh Mint
Fresh Lime Juice       Fresh Lime Juice
Dark Rum                     Club Soda
Simple Syrup
Angostura Bitters
Champagne