Alison Hillm…, Other/Just Looking in San Francisco, CA

What kind of architecture is Seattle know for?

Asked by Alison Hillman, San Francisco, CA Wed Aug 1, 2012

Like San Francisco, Seattle is laid out on steep hills, the streets led down to a waterfront, and there is the bonus of the snow-capped Olympic Mountains in the distance.

What kinds of architecture is Seattle known for and how can I identify homes with that style?

Help the community by answering this question:


Before 1914, the dominant styles were Victorian and "farmhouse" - characterized by narrow widths, small rooms, relatively high ceilings, and highly ornamented in the former and less so with the latter.

The Arts & Crafts Era brought the "Craftsman" home, which was simultaneously a cosmopolitan home with Asian aesthetic influences, and a "back to basics" ethos of honest hand-hewn materials utilized for function.

As Ardell points out, there was a Tudor phase - with the economic boom of 1926, builders took on a new urbanism - the Craftsman aesthetic was seen as being unsophisticated, and in its place came a home for the modern office worker - mostly characterized by formal details, coved plaster ceilings and mahogany millwork, and small dining rooms. Many were clad in brick.

When the Crash of '29 happened, building mostly stopped here. A few Art Deco-inspired homes were built, but it wasn't until after WWII that construction restarted with war-boxes followed by "mid-century moderns," followed by a '60s aesthetic of buttoned-down Roman brick-clad homes and more "modern" homes with soaring ceilings and peaked glass entries. Some pockets went for a basic California-inspired concrete-block construction.

The '70s brought us the split-entry home . . . does this help?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 5, 2012
Thanks, Alison!
Flag Wed Nov 21, 2012
Seattle's older, established neighborhoods are characterized by Craftsman-era homes. Many of Seattle's neighborhoods, developed post-World War II, feature Mid-century Modern homes. There are also a number of homes that evolved a 'Northwest Contemporary" style that features the use of cedar and earth-tone colors. Seattle neighborhoods offer an architectural mix of styles and periods, and it varies widely from neighborhood to neighborhood.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 1, 2012
Seattle is a great place for Craftsman and Tudor homes, especially in some of the older neighborhoods - I think that's usually what my clients think of when they say they want a "traditional home." There are plenty of them, and a very wide variety. You will also find a good deal of Victorian and Four-Square style homes in the older neighborhoods. As you get further from the city core (certainly on the Eastside), you will find swaths of mid-century "modern" homes, or 1970-80 split levels. Finally, more recent architectural trend is in the Northwest Contemporary style or ultra sleek modern, frequently with an emphasis toward Green design and living features.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 5, 2012
There are more tudor homes here than there are in most other places in the Country. "Craftsman Home" is kind of a catch all for most of the homes here, and they can range from tiny bungalows to massive mansion type homes. Separating homes into their various styles is not customary...not sure why that is.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 1, 2012
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