THE TOP 10 ARCHITECTURAL WONDERS YOU CAN’T MISS IN SEATTLE

July 22, 2019

With more than 200 years of history and a metropolitan population of 3.87 million, Seattle has something to delight everyone.

Architecture lovers are no exception: Seattle is crammed with a rich array of buildings, from a whole host of historical periods and across a wide range of styles. If you’re looking for some inspiration on how to fill your next project with light through stunning glass windows and doors, Seattle has everything you need.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the top ten architectural wonders you need to visit in Seattle.

1. Seattle Public Library

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Seattle’s Public Library was established in 1890, after several decades of efforts and planning. Today, it has six branches on the National Register of Historic Places, making it a great place to start for the architecture enthusiasts.

The architecture styles of the buildings represent many different periods, although the overall theme is one of technology and modernity. This is achieved through a design built around glass and steel. It promotes a forward-thinking view of learning and information.

In keeping with this theme, the Ballard branch of the library features a roof laden with solar panels and a sod roof to retain rainwater and prevent runoff.

2. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Campus

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Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, established their foundation in 2000, with a number of global philanthropic aims including reducing poverty, increasing education and improving healthcare.

Their campus in Seattle, completed in 2011, is a center for globally-focused dialogue, work and innovation. It was built on an area of bogland which had fallen into disrepair and aims to exist in tune with the city by providing services to everyone and adopting an eco-friendly stance.

A large, glass corridor runs through the building, and the architecture is designed to exist in harmony with the natural world. As part of this goal, the building harvests 3.3 million gallons of rainwater each year.

3. Benaroya Hall

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Home of the Seattle Symphony, the Benaroya Hall boasts 2,500 seats and was opened in 1998. Named after Jack Benaroya, who gave $15.8 million for the construction, the building received the National Honor Award in 2001 from the American Institute of Architects, among many accolades.

It occupies an entire block of the city and contains a terrace to bring some public outdoor space to downtown Seattle. In the airy, well-lit lobby, visitors can discover a collection of glass art.

4. Canlis

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Canlis is more than just a restaurant, it’s an iconic fine-dining experience. Built in 1950 by Peter Canlis, it’s always been family run. While enjoying some of the best cuisine money can buy, guests can enjoy views of Seattle’s Gas Works Park and the Cascade Mountains.

The building was designed by architect Roland Terry and was remodeled by Jim Cutler in 1996. With large glass doors and decorated with stunning Japanese artwork, visitors are spellbound from the second they enter.

5. Wing Luke Asian Museum

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The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle’s Chinatown-International district is home to a host of exhibitions built around Asian-American history, art and culture.

It’s named after Wing Luke, the first ever Asian American in the Pacific Northwest to occupy public office.

The story of the museum’s founding is also worthy of note. In 1910, 170 Chinese Immigrants decided to come together to fund a place in the center of their new community. The museum rose out of this and became a space for Asian Americans to gather and meet.

In addition to being a museum, it also functions as a space for theatre performances, community meetings and events, learning environments, and much more. The design is intimate and close, preserving the original century-old structure well.

6. Suzzallo Library

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The Suzzallo Library is the central library of the University of Washington and was named after the university’s former president Henry Suzzallo after his death in 1933. It was completed in 1963 and is built in a collegiate Gothic style with stunning 35-foot stained-glass windows and a timber-vaulted ceiling.

In 2000, the library was renovated to strengthen the structure after an earthquake. Today, it’s home to 1.6 million volumes.

7. 1201 3rd Avenue

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When it was completed in 1983, 1201 3rd Avenue became Seattle’s second-tallest building after the Columbia Center. It’s now the eighth-tallest on the United States’ West Coast and the 74th-tallest in the country.

The skyscraper has a glass facade, dominating the skyline, and with 55 stories, it towers over the surrounding buildings. It’s home to several outdoor spaces, a transit tunnel and even a shoe repair shop.

8. King Street Station

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In 1904, construction began to replace an old train station on, what is now, Alaskan Way. Completed two years later, the building features red brick masonry and steel frame, with a touch of Italian inspiration. Circular clerestory windows trimmed with plaster decorations create a regal, grand feel.

Its large clock tower occupies an impressive position just south of the city’s downtown area.

9. Art Stable

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The Art Stable is a seven-story building that aims to change the way we think about workspaces. It contains units designed to work in multiple ways, to be as flexible as possible, and they can be used for either commercial functions or operate as residential spaces.

The building is characterized by its oversized windows, flooding the space with light, and won the 2011 AIA Housing Award. One particularly impressive feature is the building’s use of geothermal loops, inserted into the pipes, which create an energy-efficient heating and cooling system.

10. Seattle City Hall

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Completed in 2005 in downtown Seattle, the City Hall is home to the offices of the Seattle City Council, as well as the city’s Mayor, and has seven floors.

Its well-lit, airy design aims to reveal the transparency of the city’s government. From the outside, the glass and steel structure exudes modernity and freshness. The building also prioritizes efficiency, featuring an under-floor air distribution system to save energy and a planted roof to reduce runoff.

It has won a series of awards including the 2009 Green GOOD DESIGN award and the 2008 Tucker Award for Design.


Seattle’s breathtaking architecture is living proof that glass windows and doors, when used right, can truly transform a building and even a city. To find out more and perhaps stumble upon some extra inspiration, visit our website at MINIMAL Glass + Door.

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