AKA: Washington State Convention and Trade Center, Downtown, Seattle, WA; Washington State Convention & Trade Center, Downtown, Seattle, WA

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

Designers: Danadjieva and Koenig Associates (firm); Howard Needles Tammen and Bergendoff (HNTB) (firm); Loschky Marquardt and Nesholm (LMN), Architects (firm); Skilling Ward Magnusson Barkshire, (SWMB), Incorporated, Engineers (firm); The Richardson Associates (TRA) Architecture, Engineering, Planning, Interiors (firm); Arthur J. Barkshire (structural engineer); Pietro Belluschi (architect); Ruben Bergendoff (architect); Angela V. Danadjieva (architect/landscape architect/sculptor); Chris Eseman (architect); Ernest Emmanuel Howard (architect); Phillip Lee Jacobson (architect); Thomas Roger Koenig (landscape architect); George Henry Loschky (architect); Jon Magnusson (structural engineer); Judsen Robert Marquardt (architect); Allen Donald Moses (architect); Enoch Ray Needles (civil engineer); John Frank Nesholm (architect); James J. Sanders (architect); John Bower Skilling (structural engineer); Henry C. Tammen (architect); William D. Ward (structural engineer)

Dates: constructed 1985-1988

6 stories, total floor area: 414,722 sq. ft.

800 Convention Place
Downtown, Seattle , WA 98101-2350

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Building History

Construction began on the Washington State Convention and Trade Center (WSCTC) in Fall 1985, and continued for nearly 3 years. iI was a complex facility set on a difficult site, perched on the edge of US Interstate 5. The first event staged in the facility occurred 06/18/1988. Phillip L. Jacobson (b. 1928) of TRA Architecture Engineering Planning Interiors supervised the design side of the first 1985-1988 convention center project. TRA worked with the Kansas City-based engineering and architectural firm, Howard Needles Tammen and Bergendoff (HNTB).

The San Francisco firm of Danadjieva and Koenig Associates worked as Associate Designers on the WSCTC, and Portland architect Pietro Belluschi was a Design Consultant. The Seattle firm of Skilling Ward Magnusson Barkshire, (SWMB), Incorporated, served as the project's engineers.


A large addition--doubling previous square footage--was made to the Convention Center in 1999-2001; this expanded building opened for convention use 07/09/2001, and was designed by Loschky Marquardt and Nesholm (LMN) Architects of Seattle. This 1999-2001 expansion increased floor space to a total of 307,700 square feet. Chris Eseman, Partner with LMN Architects, directed the design, programming and planning of this expansion project.

A third addition, with a $766 million price tag, was first discussed in 2009, in order for Seattle to compete with other cities vying for lucrative, large-scale conferences. During the mid-2000s, many American cities had competed with one another to build capacious convention centers, resulting by the end of the decade in a glut of conference space; in a difficult economy, one strategy to differentiate one's facilities and to attract conventions was to continue to expand and update them. By 2009, some wanted to expand Seattle's Convention Center capacity to 400,000 square feet, still much smaller than mammoth facilities in San Francisco, CA, and Denver, CO. Funding for this expansion was to be paid for by the 7% hotel room tax paid within the City of Seattle; a controversy arose when state officials removed $65 million of this ear-marked tax money for use in Washington State's beleaguered general fund; expansion plans were raised in 01/2009, in part to recover this money and in part to enable the city to compete for mid- and large-scale convention business. Work was projected to be completed in 2014.

A third addition to the Washington State Convention and Trade Center (WSCTC) was made nearby, but not adjacent to the first or second portions. Demolition of the Convention Place transit station that existed on the site began by late 07/2018, with ground being broken for the new addition on 08/14/2018. Foundation girders of this third addition loomed out over Interstate 5, with huge I-beams protruding above traffic while construction took place. The newest addition to the mammoth facility was set to open in 2022.

PCAD id: 8528