AKA: Seattle-First National Bank, Incorporated, Main Bank Offices #3, Downtown, Seattle, WA; 1001 Fourth Avenue Plaza, Downtown, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - banks (buildings); built works - commercial buildings - corporate headquarters; built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

Designers: Belluschi, Pietro, FAIA, Architect (firm); Naramore, Bain, Brady, and Johanson, (NBBJ) (firm); Skilling, Helle, Christiansen, and Robertson, Incorporated, Engineers (firm); Wright, Howard S., (HSW) Construction Company (firm); William James Bain Jr. (architect); William James Bain Sr. (architect); Pietro Belluschi (architect); Clifton J. Brady (architect); John Valdemar Christiansen (structural engineer); Helge Joel Helle (structural engineer); Perry Bertil Johanson (architect); Floyd Archibald Naramore (architect); Leslie Earl Robertson (engineer); John Bower Skilling (structural engineer); Donald Arthur Winkelmann (architect); Howard S. Wright (building contractor/developer)

Dates: constructed 1966-1969

50 stories, total floor area: 750,000 sq. ft.

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1001 4th Avenue
Downtown, Seattle, WA 98154-1119

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Seattle 1st National Bank's 50-story building contained 750,000 square feet, one of the largest office buildings erected during the 1960s-1970s in Seattle, WA. When built, this starkly rectangular, Miesian high-rise, stood 609 feet tall, and was mockingly referred to as the "box in which the Space Needle came." The Pacific Car and Foundry Company produced the steel and erected the frame of this Seattle 1st National Bank. The same company was responsible for building the steel armature for the Seattle Space Needle in 1961-1962. In recent years, the Safeco Insurance Company occupied the building, giving it the name "Safeco Plaza."

Building History

Donald Winkelmann (1930-1987), who joined NBBJ in 1961, served as the lead designer of the Seattle First National Bank Headquarters #2. Winkelmann also had designed Cordiner Hall, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA, in 1967, and Plymouth Congregational Church, Seattle, WA, in 1968. Pietro Belluschi acted as Consulting Architect; this building, occupying a full city block (750,000 square feet) and rising 50 stories, stood as the tallest structure in the city until the 1980s; the plaza in front of the bank building received a Henry Moore sculpture, 'Vertebrae,' c. 1969; at the time of its opening, Mirabeau, a French restaurant, operated on the top floor.

NBBJ collaborated with the world-class, Seattle-based engineering firm of Skilling, Helle, Christiansen and Robertson, and the Howard S. Wright Construction Company on the design and construction of the Seattle 1st National Bank Tower.

Building Notes

A note in Don Duncan's weekly Seattle Times editorial column, stated: "Seattle-First National Bank, which knows where the money is located, has started demolition work for a 50-story building downtown." (See Don Duncan, "Women Dominated Week's Events," Seattle Times, 07/03/1966, p. 2.)

PCAD id: 4265