AKA: Century 21 Exposition, Washington State Coliseum, Seattle, WA; KeyArena, Seattle Center, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - exhibition buildings - exposition buildings; built works - performing arts structures - performing arts structures; built works - recreation areas and structures - arenas

Designers: Naramore, Bain, Brady, and Johanson, (NBBJ) (firm); Thiry, Paul, FAIA, Architect (firm); Wright, Howard S., (HSW) Construction Company (firm); William James Bain Sr. (architect); William James Bain Jr. (architect); Clifton J. Brady (architect); Perry Bertil Johanson (architect); Floyd Archibald Naramore (architect); Paul Albert Thiry Sr. (architect); Howard S. Wright (building contractor/developer)

Dates: constructed 1960-1962

total floor area: 130,000 sq. ft.

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400 1st Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109

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Building History

Architect Paul Thiry designed this 130,000-square-foot pavilion to have a large clear span suitable for exhibits. The Official Guide Book to the Seattle World's Fair (p. 26-27) noted of the building's form: "In the shape of a hyperbolic paraboloid, it has no interior roof supports. Four massive concrete abutments support the building's roof, which is 110 feet or 11 stories high. The aluminum paneled roof is supported by steel compression trusses and nearly 6 miles of steel tension cables." It cost $4.5 million to build, and was paid for by the State of Washington, Department of Commerce and Economic Development.

Building Notes

The Washington State Coliseum occupied nearly 4 acres of land in what was the Warren Neighborhood of Lower Queen Anne. Thiry created a design composed of a 400-foot square, within which was a clear span of of several hundred feet. This was accomplished utilizing reinforced concrete edge beams that were post-tensioned. The aluminum roof panels were supported by galvanized wire cables held in tension. The Howard S. Wright Construction Company built the Coliseum. Tel: 206.684.7200 (2006).

Alteration

After the 1962 World's Fair, the plan was to convert the Washington State Coliseum to an 18.500-seat sports arena and convention center. It functioned in this way largely unchanged until the early 1990s. The Coliseum underwent a $74 million alteration and enlargement in 1994-1995 to serve as the home of the Seattle Supersonics Basketball Team. NBBJ Architects supervised this renovation and enlargement. Cleveland, OH-based Key Bank entered into a naming rights agreement with the City of Seattle in 1995, resulting in the facility rechristening as the "Key Arena." By 2006, the Supersonics' ownership claimed that the Key Arena generated insufficient revenue to maintain the team, and other venues were studied to which to move the team. In 2008, the team was moved by its ownership group led by Clay Bennett to Oklahoma City, OK.

PCAD id: 5972


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