Structure Type: built works - social and civic buildings - civic centers

Designers: Schack, Young and Myers, Architects and Engineers (firm); David John Myers (architect); James Hansen Schack Sr. (architect); Arrigo Mazzucato Young (civil engineer/mechanical engineer)

Dates: constructed 1925-1928

2 stories

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321 Mercer Street
Seattle Center, Seattle, WA 98109

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A large auditorium for cultural events has stood on this property since the late 1920s. The Seattle Civic Auditorium had its facade removed (and structural supports retained) and rebuilt according to the plans of James Chiarelli (1908-1990) and B. Marcus Priteca (1889-1971) to create the Seattle Opera House (renovated in conjunction with the Seattle World's Fair of 1962). LMN Architects renovated and updated the 1962 Opera House to create McCaw Hall, a venue used by the Seattle Opera and Northwest Ballet.

Building History

Seattle architectural firm Schack, Young and Myers gained the commission for a large civic cultural center, that was to include a Civic Auditorium, Civic Arena, Veterans' Hall, and sports stadium. The Seattle Civic Auditorium was one of the three public buildings--in addition to the Armory and High School Memorial Stadium--that already existed on the Century 21 Exposition (Seattle World's Fair) site, what became Seattle Center.

In its Italian Romanesque Revival styling, the Seattle Civic Auditorium bore a resemblance to the contemporary Athletic Pavilion (1927, renamed to honor Clarence S. "Hec" Edmundson [1886-1964] in 1948), designed by Bebb and Gould on the University of Washington Campus designed at about the same time.

Building Notes

According to the Seattle Municipal Archives, "The Civic Auditorium was also under the control of the [City of Seattle] Building Department from 1928 until its 1962 demolition." (See "Guide to the Building Department Annual Reports 1894-1979,"Accessed 11/26/2012.) Tel: (206) 684-7200 (2007).

Prior to 02/26/2019, PCAD included two views of the Seattle Civic Ice Arena in the record for the Seattle Civic Auditorium. A new record was made for the Seattle Ice Arena, and those images reattached to this new record. Thank you to Kurt Ambruster for spotting the misidentification of the Ice Arena photos. (See email from Kurt Armbruster to the author, 02/25/2019.)


Architects James Chiarelli (1908-1990) and B. Marcus Priteca (1889-1971) utilized some of the Civic Auditorium's structure to support the new World's Fair Opera House in 1961-1962. The original Romanesque Civic Auditorium facade was completely removed.

PCAD id: 5248