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Male, US, born 1917-01-31, died 2013-12-04

Associated with the firms network

Bassetti and Morse, Architects; Bassetti Architects; Bassetti, Fred, and Company; Bassetti, Morse and Aitken, Architects; Bassetti, Morse and Tatom, Architects; Bassetti / Norton / Metler, Architects, PS; Bassetti / Norton / Metler / Rekevics, Architects; Bassetti / Norton / Metler / Rothschild Architects

Professional History


Draftsman, Paul Thiry, Architect, Seattle, WA, 1944-1946; Draftsman, Alvar Aalto, Architect, Cambridge, MA, 1946; Designer, NBBJ Partnership, Seattle, WA, 10/1946-1947; Partner, Bassetti and [John] Morse, Architects, Seattle, WA, 1947-1962; Partner, Bassetti, Morse and Tatom, Architects, Honolulu, HI, c. 1962; Principal, Fred Bassetti and Company, Architects, Seattle, WA, 1962-1979; Partner, Bassetti/Norton/Metler/Rekevics Architects, Seattle, WA, 1979-1994; Founding Partner, Bassetti Architects, Seattle, WA, 1994-present; Bassetti retired from practice in 1994; by c. 2005, the firm was known simply as "Bassetti."


Guest Critic, Columbia University, New York, NY; Bassetti lectured at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, Columbia University, New York, NY, Rice University, Houston, TX, and the Universities of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia (UBC).

Professional Activities

Member, Seattle Chapter, American Institute of Architects (AIA), 1948.

Bassetti traveled to Europe on a U.S. Information Agency project in 1956.

Registered Architect in WA, ID and MT in 1955 and 1962.

Director, AIA, Seattle Chapter, 1965-1968.

President, American Institute of Architects (AIA), Seattle Chapter, Seattle, WA, 1967-1968.

President, Allied Arts of Seattle; Member, Seattle Landmarks Commission, Seattle, WA.

Member, Seattle Design Commission, Seattle, WA; Bassetti belonged to the Executive Board of the Friends of the Market, Seattle, WA, preservation group before 1963. In his many leadership roles during the 1960s and later, Bassetti became a key social activist in Seattle, campaigning for publicly-minded design projects, ranging from Pike Place Market's preservation to the creation of new parks.

In the late 1960s, Bassetti took a leading role in the "Forward Thrust" planning movement in Seattle, WA, co-founding "Action: Better City," a civic advocacy group. In part, he hoped to reinject local architects into the city-planning process, a role that had been usurped gradually by professional planners beginning in the 1920s. This group presented its findings in a book and a film, both titled, "What's So Great about Seattle?" An exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum also was part of this coordinated lobbying effort, to convince voters to pass bond issues for parks, sports facilities and other civic amenities.

Bassetti also became an activist campaigning for the Seattle Commons, a 61-acre park that he hoped would provide Seattle a Central Park-like amenity near the city center. He and Seattle Times writer John Hinterberger floated this idea in 1991, and public support built during the period 1991-1995. Two referenda requesting about $100 million in public funds to complete the parks failed in 1995 and 1996.

Professional Awards

Fellow, American Institute of Architects (FAIA), 1967; American Institute of Architects (AIA) Seattle Medallist, 1988; nominated for a Pritzker Prize from the Hyatt Foundation, Chicago, IL, 1989.

National Academician, National Academy of Design, New York, NY, 1994.

Inductee, University of Washington, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Roll of Honor, 2007.


High School/College

Bassetti graduated from Garfield High School, Seattle, WA; B.Arch., University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 1942; Bassetti entered the University of Washington (UW) thinking that he would study engineering; after performing poorly in engineering classes that first quarter of his freshman year, a classmate encouraged him to visit Architecture Hall. Bassetti was enchanted with the drawings arrayed on the walls, and went to speak to the Dean of the Department, Arthur P. Herrman (1898-1993). Both Herrman and another professor counseled him not to switch majors. He did anyway. M.Arch, Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA, 1945-1946. At Harvard, Bassetti worked with the renowned Bauhaus architects, Walter Gropius (1883-1969) and Marcel Breuer (1902-1981), but felt that the latter was the better critic and teacher. Bassetti had the opportunity to work at the University of Pennsylvania c. 1945, where Louis I. Kahn (1901-1974) was developing a devoted student following.

College Awards

Scholarship, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1944-1946;



Born in Seattle, Bassetti grew up in Foster, WA, south of the city, now within the boundaries of Tukwila, WA. The area was known as Mortimer Heights, and Bassetti remembered it as rural and populated by many recent Italian immigrants. To learn more about his heritage, Bassetti lived for a year in Turin, during the deepest part of the Depression, 1932-1933, before his family transplanted itself to the Denny-Blaine Neighborhood of Seattle. He attended Garfield High School in Seattle finishing with the class of 1936, before matriculating at the University of Washington.

After the UW, Bassetti received a Master's degree in architecture from Harvard University's Graduate School of Design.


Born of a Norwegian mother, Sophie M. Forde (born c. 1891), and an Italian father, Frederick Michael Bassetti (b. 04/07/1887 in Turin, Italy), a newspaper correspondent and publisher, who operated the Italian language paper, Gazzetta Italiana. His father became a naturalized citizen in 1917 in Seattle, the year his son was born. His father's parents lived in Turin, where Bassetti visited in 1932-1933; he visited his paternal grandmother for nine months at this time, and remembered that he was enrolled in the fourth grade there at age 15. His mother came from Forde, Norway, a small town north of the coastal city of Bergen. Frederick M. and Sophie had three children: Yolanda (born c. 1914 in WA), Helen (born c. 1916 in WA) and Frederick Forde.


Bassetti married three times; he was wed to Mary Wilson Bassetti from 1944 until 1971.

His second wife was Moira Feeney Bassetti (born in NB, Canada, c. 1933), whom he married on 06/25/1971 in Seattle. The architects Ibsen Nelsen and George Bartholick served as witnesses. He was 54 and she 38, They remained married from 1971-1985; (See Source Information: Washington, Marriage Records, 1865-2004 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: Washington State Archives. Olympia, Washington: Washington State Archives.Accessed 12/09/2015.)

Bassetti's third wife, Gwenyth Piper Caldwell, he married in 1989. (Previous to marrying Bassetti in 1989, Gwen had married Theo Caldwell, a developer with whom Bassetti worked in the 1950s, in 1974.) (Information written in a letter dated 10/06/2009 from Mary Bassetti to Alan Michelson corrected the latter's errors in an earlier record. The author is grateful to her for the corrections.)


Fred and Mary Wilson Bassetti had three daughters: Ann, Catherine and Margaret; he and Moira Feeney Bassetti had two children, Megan and Michael; Bassetti also has acted as a step-father to Gwen Piper Caldwell's 4 children from her first marriage, Megan, Ben, Piper and Sam, as well as a step-father to her five sons with whom she raised with Theo Caldwell. (Again, this information came from Mary Bassetti via correspondence to the author, 10/06/2009.)

Biographical Notes

In the summer of 1946, when the Head of the Harvard, Graduate School of Design, Walter Gropius, returned to Germany for the first time in ten years, Bassetti and his wife lived in the Gropius House in Lincoln, MA, house-sitting for 3 months. Bassetti worked for Alvar Aalto (1898-1976), working closely with the Finnish architect on the design of the Baker Dormitory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He also assisted Aalto in New York, NY, on a small commission for James Johnson Sweeney (1900-1986), Head of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art (1945-1946), for museum furniture.

Associated Locations

  • Seattle, WA (Architect's Birth)
    Seattle, WA

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  • Portland, OR (Architect's Death)
    Portland, OR

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PCAD id: 1554

1411 4th Avenue Building, Downtown, Seattle, WA1929-1930SeattleWA
American Telephone and Telegraph Company (A, T and T), Gateway Tower, Downtown, Seattle, WA1990SeattleWA
Armbruster, G.J., House, Lake Stevens, WA1948Lake StevensWA
Benton County Public Utilities District, Office Building K1955
Beyer Apartments, Fremont, Seattle, WA1978SeattleWA
Birnbaum, Z. William and Hilde M., House, Hilltop, Bellevue, WA1953-1954BellevueWA
Bullitt, Stimson and Katherine (Kay), House, Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA1955-1956SeattleWA
Caldwell House, Mercer Heights, Mercer Island, WA1954Mercer IslandWA
Caldwell, Theodore, Tract Houses, Seattle, WASeattleWA
Central Washington College of Education, Library #2, Ellensburg, WA1960-1961EllensburgWA
Central Washington State College, Campus Plan, Ellensburg, WA1961EllensburgWA
Central Washington State College (CWSC), Bouillion Building, Ellensburg, WA1961EllensburgWA
Central Washington State College, Hitchcock Hall, Ellensburg, WA1965-1966EllensburgWA
City of Seattle, City Hall #4, Seattle, WA2003-2005SeattleWA
City of Seattle, Fire Department (SFD), Station #17, University District, Seattle, WA1928-1929SeattleWA
City of Seattle, Parks and Recreation Department, Woodland Park, Zoo Master Plan #1, Seattle, WASeattleWA
City of Seattle, Woodland Park Zoo, Childrens' Zoo, Seattle, WASeattleWA
Dodd, Lloyd and Mary, House, Normandy Park, WA1950Normandy ParkWA
East Shore Unitarian Church, Bellevue, WA1956BellevueWA
Forrest, Marshall, House, Bellingham, WA1952BellinghamWA
Frey, Karl S., House, Mount Baker, Seattle, WA1962SeattleWA
Frye Art Museum, First Hill, Seattle, WA1952SeattleWA
Gamma Rho Apartment Building, Fremont, Seattle, WA1950-1951SeattleWA
Harborview Medical Center, Campus, First Hill, Seattle, WA1931SeattleWA
Hoover, Benjamin, House, Seattle, WA1956SeattleWA
Isaacs, Walter F., House, Hilltop, Bellevue, WA1951-1952BellevueWA
James, William, House, Ravenna, Seattle, WASeattleWA
KIRO Radio and TV Station #2, Belltown, Seattle, WA1965SeattleWA
Lerchenmueller House, Hilltop, Bellevue, WA1955-1956BellevueCA
Loderi Place Apartments Project, University District, Seattle, WA1972SeattleWA
Makah Cultural Center, Neah Bay, WANeah BayWA
Martin, Gerald R. and Mildred A., House, Pontiac, Seattle, WA1952-1953SeattleWA
Mercer Island School District #400, Island Park Elementary School, Mercer Island, WAMercer IslandWA
Mercer Island School District #400, Lakeridge Elementary School, Mercer Island, WAMercer IslandWA
Mercer Island School District #400, Lakeview Elementary School, Mercer Island, WA1953-1954Mercer IslandWA
Mercer Island School District #400, Mercer Island High School, Mercer Island, WA1958Mercer IslandWA
Mercer Island School District #400, North Mercer Junior High School, Mercer Island, WA 1961Mercer IslandWA
Morse, John M. and Emily, House, Hilltop, Bellevue, WA1950BellevueWA
Norwood Village, 12123 SE 27th Street House, Bellevue, WABellevueWA
Norwood Village Houses, Bellevue, WA1950-1951BellevueWA
O'Brien, John L., House, Seattle, WA1953SeattleWA
Paccar Incorporated, Paccar Technical Center, Mount Vernon, WAMount VernonWA
PACCAR International, PACCAR Technical Facility, Mount Vernon, WAMount VernonWA
Public Market Center, Sanitary Market Building, Seattle, WA1910SeattleWA
Scheffer, Victor and Beth, House, Hilltop, Bellevue, WA1951BellevueWA
Seattle Aquarium, Waterfont, Seattle, WA1975-1976SeattleWA
Seattle Commons Project, South Lake Union, Seattle, WA1991-1995SeattleWA
Seattle Public Schools, Dearborn Park Elementary School, Seattle, WA1970-1971SeattleWA
Seattle Public Schools, Franklin, Benjamin, High School #2, Mount Baker, Seattle, WA1911-1912SeattleWA
Seattle Public Schools, Roosevelt High School, Seattle, WA1921-1922SeattleWA
Seattle Public Utilities District, East Pine Street Substation, Minor, Seattle, WA1965-1967SeattleWA
Shoreline School District #412, Shorewood High School, Shoreline, WA2011-2013ShorelineWA
Sunnyslope Homes Housing Development, Kennewick, WAKennewickWA
Tacoma Union Station, Tacoma, WA1909-1911TacomaWA
United States Air Force (USAF), McChord Air Force Base, Family Housing, McChord AFB, WA1957McChord Airforce BaseWA
United States Government, Department of State, U.S. Embassy, Lisbon, Portugal1983Lisbon
United States Government, Federal Office Building #3, Downtown, Seattle, WA1971-1974SeattleWA
United States Navy (USN), Whidbey Island Naval Base, Housing, Whidbey Island, WA1961Whidbey IslandWA
University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Engineering Library, Seattle, WA1969SeattleWA
University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Gates, Mary, Hall, Seattle, WA1928SeattleWA
University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Loew, Edgar A., Hall, Seattle, WA1969SeattleWA
University Professional Building, University District, Seattle, WA1954SeattleWA
Washington State University (WSU), Avery Hall, Pullman, WA1971PullmanWA
Wertheimer, Steven P., and Estelle Asher, House, Mercer Island, WA 1958Mercer IslandWA
Western Washington State College (WWSC), Bookstore, Bellingham, WABellinghamWA
Western Washington State College (WWSC), Humanities Building, Bellingham, WABellinghamWA
Western Washington State College (WWSC), Ridgeway Dormitories, Bellingham, WA1964BellinghamWA
Western Washington State College (WWSC), Student Union, Bellingham, WA1957-1959BellinghamWA
Wood Block House, Mercer Island, WA1962Mercer IslandWA
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