Seattle is one of those cities that had a boom in the 60s and 70s, thanks in part to the ’67 World’s Fair (that gave birth to the Space Needle.) I should know: my parents came here during those years when the suburbs seemed to be exploding with new construction. I was away for 20 years—part of that time in Chicago, where I did this same thing—but now I’ve moved back and am determined to find all the brutalist buildings in and around Seattle and post them here.
If you’re unfamiliar with “Brutalism”, it’s a style of Modernist architecture that flourished in the 1960s and 70s, characterized by heavy, geometric forms. The unappealing (but in some ways apt) moniker comes from the French béton brut, which means “raw concrete”—concrete construction being another common characteristic of the style. Brutalist buildings can be minimal and functional or take on daring and experimental forms.
Since I began shooting pictures of Brutalism back in Chicago, it’s become somewhat en vogue with a narrow but passionate subset of architecture fans. Though that passion has yet to filter through to the general public. In fact, many of these buildings have been destroyed or are in danger of demolition, hence rescue movements like SOS Brutalism.
Please email me if you know of places I should visit. These are all my own photos now, though I may have some other contributors eventually.
Speaking of, please don’t use any image from this site without asking first. I’ll almost certainly say o.k.
— Shawn Hazen