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Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

April 9, 2010 at 5:12 PM

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Stroll through architectural history

Posted by Gabriel Campanario

interurbanbuilding040810f2m.jpg

April 8, 12:07 p.m. [Click on sketches to view larger]

interurbanbuildingdet040810m.jpgPioneer Square is not my usual stomping ground, but I could spend days walking around the historic district. Architectural gems from the late 19th century and early 20th century are hidden in plain view: walruses at the 1917 Arctic Building or this red terra-cotta lion at the 1892 Interurban Building, to name a few.

As I visited this week accompanied by University of Washington professor Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, I was introduced to more interesting details: stone-carved signatures of the architects who reshaped the city after the great fire of 1889, intriguing terra-cotta designs and Romanesque revival entrances. I also found out why the 1914 Smith Tower has so many windows. "Every office has an exterior window because in those days artificial illumination was not very good," said Ochsner, who was as excited to talk about architecture as I was to sketch it.

This Saturday and next, Ochsner talks about 125 years of Seattle's architectural history at the Seattle Central Library (1 p.m. to 3 p.m.) More information at www.spl.org.

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