Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Atlas Construction Company, Incorporated (firm); Auerbach, S. Leonard, and Associates, Theatrical Design (firm); Business Space Design (firm); Naramore, Bain, Brady, and Johanson, (NBBJ) (firm); Project and Cost Management, Project Management (firm); Skilling, Ward, Rogers, Barkshire, Incorporated, Engineers (firm); VFT/Division of Coffman Engineers, Incorporated (firm); N. Sue Alden (architect); William James Bain Jr. (architect); Arthur J. Barkshire (structural engineer); Clifton J. Brady (architect); Patrick Toner James (architect); Perry Bertil Johanson (architect); Floyd Archibald Naramore (architect); Kent R. Rogers (structural engineer); John Bower Skilling (structural engineer); William D. Ward (structural engineer)

Dates: constructed 1982-1983

155 Mercer Street
Seattle Center, Seattle, WA 98109


The prolific Seattle architectural firm of NBBJ designed the Bagley Wright Theatre for the Seattle Repertory Theatre. Patrick James served as NBBJ's lead designer on the Bagley Wright Theatre, completed in 1983. The building cost $6,097,378 to erect.

Building History

NBBJ won the commission for the Bagley Wright Theatre in a competition paid for by Seattle's "1% for Art" bond issue funding municipal buildings. The exterior's unusual graduated color scheme of green with red stripes was selected to stand out in Seattle's overcast light conditions. "Despite the team's resistance to the showy spring green, that color kept recurring, and samples tested on site demonstrated that it retained its lively spirit in the face of the region's climatic vagaries. The stripes that punctuate the facade's gradations of green consist of expansion joint reglets, 3/4-inch deep and painted a brownish-red. The red refers to the bark of the indigenous madrona tree, while the greens recall sauterne, Granny Smith apples and, more immediately, a row of poplar trees at the edge of the front lawn. The maroon reglets continue through the glass wall at the box office entrance to lay stripes across gypsum-baord lobby walls. The madrona color is also carried indoors, where it warms the carpeting and upholstery." (See "For a rep group," Architectural Record, v. 172, no. 13, 11/1984, p. 106-109.)

The team that collaborated on the design included: William Bain, Jr., NBBJ partner-in-charge, N. Sue Alden, NBBJ project architect, and Patrick T. James, NBBJ project designer, and Patrick J. Damento, associate desgner. The architects worked with the following engineers: Skilling Ward Rogers and Barkshire, Incorporated, Structural Engineers, and VFT, a division of Coffman Engineers, Incorporated, Mechanical and Electrical Engineers. Consultants included: Business Space Design, color and custom furniture designers, Project & Cost Management, budget managers, S. Leonard Auerbach and Associates, Incorporated, Theatrical Design, and Purcell + Noppe + Associates, Incorporated, Acoustics and Audio Design. The general contractor was Atlas Construction Company, Incorporated.

The Greek-American sculptor Stephen Antonakos (1926-2013) produced the neon-sculpture on the building's exterior.

Building Notes

The Bagley Wright Theatre had a mesa-like, sculpted shape, equipped with 862 seats. The theatre was equipped with four lighting catwalks, three above the seats and one above the stage. Two metal grids flanked the stage originally. Its form was meant to create an intimate theatrical experience for viewers, with no seat farther than 54 feet from the stage. According to the Archtiectural Record in 1983: "The auditorium acoustics were designed with special care to favor the spoken word, having sound-absorbent, fabric-covered panels on the walls and cloth screens on the catwalks; the soffit of the deep balcony took highly convex form to bounce sound to the audience seated beneath it." (See "For a rep group," Architectural Record, v. 172, no. 13, 11/1984, p. 106-109.)

The building had an unusual

PCAD id: 20872