Category Archives: Historic Preservation

Look up! Architectural Terracotta Everywhere

Ever been walking along 3rd Avenue in downtown Seattle and happen to look up and see a bunch of walruses staring back down at you, complete with tusks the size of your head? Seattle is home to many great examples of architectural terracotta, and Robert Mech is here to tell you all about it.

“Off The Hook” – The Etymology of Your Phone Number

Did you know that the digits of your phone number actually have a history linking them to letters? Or, that the concept of “dialing” a phone came way later than the phone itself? Robert Mech explores all this and more in this post about phones, and he most certainly did not “phone it in.”

Tournament of Ornament

There’s a saying in urban design – buildings in a city fall into one of two categories: they are either monuments (buildings that stand out), or fabric (buildings that blend in.) Many American cities are a woven tapestry of fabric. Take Seattle, for instance. We have our Space Needle and EMP and Seattle Central Library. […]

Everyday Heroes of the Built Environment

Seattle is changing rapidly. Even if you don’t have a strong opinion about our growth, you fall somewhere on the spectrum ranging from calling for maximum density to a “BANANA” (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything – a step up from the now ubiquitous “NIMBY”). I often lament that I did not take photos around Capitol Hill when we […]

Docomomo-WEWA Night at the Museum

You don’t have to be a member of the “DOcumentation and COnservation of the MOdern MOvement – WEstern WAshington” (Docomomo-WEWA for short) in order to see a great exhibit at the Nordic Heritage Museum, going on now. It’s entitled Danish Modern – Design For Living, and it features many designers and their specimens (mostly the […]

Moderne Art Deco Modern Atomic

What the heck does that mean? Well, obviously it’s a jumble of words. They’re all potential anachronisms when used excitedly (and inappropriately) for various design aesthetics, styles, and periods of time in their relation to art, architecture, and history. Ever heard any of them? Of course you have. If you’ve read my introductory blog post, […]

The Perils and Joys of Remodeling Older Homes

If you’re the owner of an older home and considering remodeling you’ve probably thought good and hard about what can go wrong with remodeling older homes.  You’ve probably done some research and are probably confused by all the conflicting information out there.  Is it worth it?  Will costs spiral out of control?  Will I be […]

Adaptive Reuse of Churches

Churches are some of the world's most (if not THE most) iconic and everlasting forms of Architecture. They're also in declining use and in need of a new use in life. Regardless of anyone's religious beliefs, churches are beautiful buildings that tell a story of where we have been. To let them decay is a rather horrendous crime in my mind. Here are some fun examples of churches being adapted to a new use in life.