Structure Type: built works - public buildings - city halls

Designers: Bassetti Architects (firm); Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects (firm); Frederick Forde Bassetti (architect); Peter Quarfordt Bohlin (architect); Bernard J. Cywinski (architect); Kathryn Gustafson (landscape architect); Jon C. Jackson (architect); Lorne L. McConachie (architect)

Dates: constructed 2003-2005

7 stories, total floor area: 201,000 sq. ft.

600 4th Avenue
Downtown, Seattle, WA 98104-1850

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Building History

A competition involving a large number of entrants started the design process. In 1999, a short list of architects in the running for the project included: Antoine Predock, Architect, Mithun Partners, Incorporated, Bassetti Architects, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Architects, Patkau Architects and Hewitt Architects. Bassetti and Bohlin both were selected to collaborate as the designers. (Bassetti had a long track record of work in the city, while Bohlin, a Wilkes-Barre, PA-based firm, was recognized as a leading design firm in the US, but was new to the area.) As built, the city hall was also meant to reflect Seattle's tradition of civic governance inviting extensive public participation. Bohlin Cywinski and Jackson discussed their efforts to reflect this in the design: "The final building scheme, a result of extensive community input, consists of a seven-story glass office block, a metal Council Chamber, and a lobby of transparent and translucent glass uniting the two. This transparency reflects the goal of an open, accessible city government, easily identified, where ordinary citizens can locate city services. The curved metal volume of the City Council Chamber is a modern form that evokes a civic dome. City Hall is intended for community meetings of all sorts, both formal and informal." (See Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Architects, "Seattle City Hall,"Accessed 05/27/2011.) Landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson designed the landscaping around the Seattle City Hall #4.

Building Notes

The City Hall #4 was designed to be a very environmentally friendly building, to embody the city's, in the architects' words, the "love and stewardship of the environment." They continued: "Functionally, it meets the space needs of the mayor and city council, and provides new venues for public gathering, reception and citizen services. Symbolically, its design elements evoke the spirit of the Northwest and reflect the city's rising international profile-a true expression of Seattle's civility and livability." (See Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Architects, "Seattle City Hall,"Accessed 05/27/2011.) Leaders of Seattle's government at the time wanted to highlight the city's ardent environmentalism and to position it as a leader among US municipal governments in the area. As a result, it was one of the first city halls in the U.S. to have a green roof. Rated a LEED Gold building, it won a number of architectural awards for its architects Bassetti Architects and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, including a 2009 Green Good Design Award from The European Center for Architecture and The Chicago Athenaeum, a 2008 Tucker Award for Design from the Building Stone Institute, a 2006 Merit Award in the IDEAS Awards Program sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction, a 2006 Honor Award for Design from the AIA Washington Council, a 2005 Commendation for Design from the American Institute of Architects, Seattle Chapter in 2005, and a 2003 Award of Excellence for Electrical Design, from McGraw-Hill's Northwest

The Bassetti Architects website in 2021 indicated that the building had 201,600 square feet.

PCAD id: 4782