Survey reveals hidden gems among Spokane's midcentury modern architecture – The Spokesman-Assessment

In a method, the Grand Coulee Dam is answerable for Spokane’s stock of midcentury modern architecture.

All that concrete introduced prosperity to the area, serving to to gas a constructing growth by means of its low electrical charges. However it additionally introduced Ken Brooks to city. The younger graduate of the College of Illinois was casting about for a house. His uncle in Seattle advised him Jap Washington was the place, because of the “nice dam” and the “nice open house on the opposite facet of those mountains.”

Brooks got here, and in time he grew to become a part of a set of architects unusual to a small metropolis like Spokane. The “iconic, attention-grabbing and uncommon specimens” left behind by these architects have lastly been counted, cataloged and acknowledged. A lately accomplished survey of great buildings from the mid-20th century discovered 53 buildings by no means earlier than inventoried. The buildings vary from industrial to institutional to residential and are the work of 27 architects between 1948 and 1973.

Beside Brooks, notable architects of the period embrace Royal McClure, Thomas Adkison, Richard Neutra, Invoice Trogdon, Bruce Walker and John McGough.

Many of those architects have been concerned in city planning and different civic actions and “have been notably vital to the planning and execution of Expo ’74,” in response to the report.

The survey was executed by two Spokane corporations: Painter Preservation and Planning, and helveticka, a design agency. It was paid for with federal funds from the Nationwide Park Service, the Washington State Division of Archeology and Historic Preservation and town of Spokane.

Diana Painter, an architectural historian who based her firm in 2002; CK Anderson, helveticka’s inventive director; and Aaron Brigg, senior copywriter on the similar agency, mentioned its findings earlier than about 50 folks throughout a latest afternoon on the Washington Cracker Co. Constructing in downtown Spokane.

Of the buildings within the survey, 16 are industrial buildings, 13 are institutional and 24 are residential. All are nonetheless standing.

Painter mentioned the buildings are “modern” due to their “deliberate departure from custom.” However the time period encompasses a broad assortment of types, from the stark and monumental “brutalist” buildings like Temple Beth Shalom on the South Hill to the attention-catching “Googie” architecture seen within the Shadle Park Reservoir, to the clear types of the Worldwide Type, typified by the little-identified 1949 Studio Residences at 1102 W. Sixth Ave.

These buildings nonetheless stand, and the architects’ work continues on in different methods. McClure and Adkison’s architectural agency is now known as ALSC Architects. Walker and McGough’s firm was Integrus Architecture. And Trogdon’s agency is at present often known as NAC Architecture.

“These gents have been doing nice stuff 50, 60 years in the past, and their legacy continues,” mentioned Bragg.

However it’s not simply their legacies and buildings that dwell on. Because the survey was mentioned, Moritz Kundig’s title got here up. Kundig, who designed the previous Ferris Excessive Faculty auditorium, is in his 90s and was within the viewers on the Washington Cracker Co. Constructing. Anderson launched him, and a stunned viewers applauded.

On the finish of the hourlong presentation, a member of the viewers pointed to a different midcentury architect within the crowd: Warren Heylman, who designed the Parkade. He, too, stood to applause.

Megan Duvall, town and county’s historic preservation officer, was fortunately stunned on the esteemed company.

“I’ve by no means met Warren,” she mentioned. “However now that I do know who you're, we’ll have to speak.”

For extra data, go to midcenturyspokane.org.

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Survey reveals hidden gems among Spokane's midcentury modern architecture - The Spokesman-Assessment