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Male, US, born 1917-01-31, died 2013-12-04

Associated with the firms network

Bassetti / Norton / Metler / Rekevics, Architects; Bassetti / Norton / Metler / Rothschild Architects; Bassetti / Norton / Metler, Architects, PS; Bassetti Architects; Bassetti and Morse, Architects; Bassetti, Fred, and Company; Bassetti, Morse and Aitken, Architects; Bassetti, Morse and Tatom, Architects

Professional History


Architect, Federal Public Housing Authority (FPHA), Seattle, WA, 1942. In 1942, the FPHA office was located in the Skinner Building in Downtown Seattle, at 5th Avenue and Union Street.

Draftsman, Paul Thiry, Architect, Seattle, WA, 1944-1946.

Draftsman, Alvar Aalto, Architect, Cambridge, MA, 1946.

Designer, NBBJ Partnership, Seattle, WA, 10/1946-1947.

Partner, Bassetti and [John] Morse, Architects, Seattle, WA, 1947-1962. Bassetti and Morse had an office at 1621 Boren Street in 1948. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1948, p. 94.) In 1959, Bassetti and Morse maintained an architectural office in Room #1602 of the Tower Building, 1809 7th Avenue. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1959, p. 98.)

Partner, Bassetti, Morse and Tatom, Architects, Honolulu, HI, c. 1962.

Principal, Fred Bassetti and Company, Architects, Seattle, WA, 1962-1979. In 1979, Bassetti moved his architectural office two blocks to the west to 2021 3rd Avenue in Seattle. (See Polly Lane, Seattle Sunday Times, “Design challenge: United States Embassy in Lisbon, 09/02/1979, Real Estate Section, p. K5.)

Partner, Bassetti/Norton/Metler/Rekevics Architects, Seattle, WA, 1979-1994.

Founding Partner, Bassetti Architects, Seattle, WA, 1994-present. Bassetti retired from practice in 1994; by c. 2005, the firm was known simply as "Bassetti."


Guest Critic, Columbia University, New York, NY;

Bassetti lectured at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, Columbia University, New York, NY, Rice University, Houston, TX, and University of Washington (UW), University of Oregon (U of O), University of Idaho, and University of British Columbia (UBC).

Professional Activities

Member, Seattle Chapter, American Institute of Architects (AIA), 1948.

Bassetti traveled to Europe on a U.S. Information Agency project in 1956.

Registered Architect in WA, ID and MT in 1955 and 1962.

Director, AIA, Seattle Chapter, 1965-1968.

President, American Institute of Architects (AIA), Seattle Chapter, Seattle, WA, 1967-1968.

President, Allied Arts of Seattle; Member, Seattle Landmarks Commission, Seattle, WA.

Member, Seattle Design Commission, Seattle, WA; Bassetti belonged to the Executive Board of the Friends of the Market, Seattle, WA, preservation group before 1963. In his many leadership roles during the 1960s and later, Bassetti became a key social activist in Seattle, campaigning for publicly-minded design projects, ranging from Pike Place Market's preservation to the creation of new parks.

In the late 1960s, Bassetti took a leading role in the "Forward Thrust" planning movement in Seattle, WA, co-founding "Action: Better City," a civic advocacy group. In part, he hoped to reinject local architects into the city-planning process, a role that had been usurped gradually by professional planners beginning in the 1920s. This group presented its findings in a book and a film, both titled, "What's So Great about Seattle?" An exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum also was part of this coordinated lobbying effort, to convince voters to pass bond issues for parks, sports facilities and other civic amenities.

Bassetti also became an activist campaigning for the Seattle Commons, a 61-acre park that he hoped would provide Seattle a Central Park-like amenity near the city center. He and Seattle Times writer John Hinterberger floated this idea in 1991, and public support built during the period 1991-1995. Two referenda requesting about $100 million in public funds to complete the parks failed in 1995 and 1996.

Professional Awards

Fellow, American Institute of Architects (FAIA), 1967;

Recipient, American Institute of Architects (AIA) Seattle Medallist, 1988.

Nominee, Pritzker Prize from the Hyatt Foundation, Chicago, IL, 1989.

National Academician, National Academy of Design, New York, NY, 1994.

Inductee, University of Washington, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Roll of Honor, 2007.


High School / College

Graduate, Garfield High School, Seattle, WA.

B.Arch., University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 1942. Bassetti entered the University of Washington (UW) thinking that he would study engineering; after performing poorly in engineering classes that first quarter of his freshman year, a classmate encouraged him to visit Architecture Hall. Bassetti was enchanted with the drawings arrayed on the walls, and went to speak to the Dean of the Department, Arthur P. Herrman (1898-1993). Both Herrman and another professor counseled him not to switch majors. He did anyway.

M.Arch, Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA, 1945-1946. At Harvard, Bassetti worked with the renowned Bauhaus architects, Walter Gropius (1883-1969) and Marcel Breuer (1902-1981), but felt that the latter was the better critic and teacher. Bassetti had the opportunity to work at the University of Pennsylvania c. 1945, where Louis I. Kahn (1901-1974) was developing a devoted student following.

College Awards

Scholarship, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1944-1946.



Born in Seattle, Bassetti spent his childhood living in various locations around Seattle. His father's World War I draft registration card of 11/1917 indicated that he and his family lived at 116 East 61st Street in Seattle. (See, Source Citation Registration State: Washington; Registration County: King Source Information U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005, accessed 09/15/2021.)

The 1920 US Census listed his residence to be in the unincorporated town of Riverton, now the Riverton-Boulevard Park section of Tukwila, WA, 12 miles southeast of Seattle. The household included his parents and two sisters, Yolanda and Helen. (See, Source Citation Year: 1920; Census Place: Riverton, King, Washington; Roll: T625_1924; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 36, accessed 09/16/2021.) Riverton was located adjacent to the unincorporated town of Foster, which was to the west on the west side of the Duwamish River. Whether he lived in two locations, one in Riverton and one in Foster, or not, is not known. In later years, Bassetti recalled growing up in Foster, WA, in an area known as "Mortimer Heights." The area was rural and populated by many recent Italian immigrants, many of whom did small-scale farming. The Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1927, (p. 282.) indicated that the family resided outside the city along the postal Rural Delivery Route #5.

To learn more about his heritage, Bassetti lived for a year in Turin, during the deepest part of the Depression, 1932-1933, before his family transplanted itself to the Denny-Blaine Neighborhood of Seattle. By 1935, the Bassettis had relocated to a dwelling at 1525 Madrona Drive in Seattle. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1935, p. 218.) He attended Garfield High School in Seattle finishing with the class of 1936, before matriculating at the University of Washington.

In 11/1942, Bassettti resided with his parents at 1525 Madrona Drive in Seattle's Madrona neighborhood. (See, Source Citation National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Washington, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 11, accessed 09/15/2021.)

After the UW, Bassetti received a Master's degree in architecture from Harvard University's Graduate School of Design (GSD).

Just after returning from Cambridge, MA, Fred and his first wife Mary Bassetti resided at 1606 15th Avenue in Seattle. (SeeSeattle, Washington, City Directory, 1948, p. 94.)

By the late 1940s, Fred and Mary joined a group of young architects and other professionals who established the Hilltop Housing Cooperative in the hills above Bellevue, WA, just after World War II. Other founding members of this cooperative included architect John "Jack" Morse (1911-2000), Bassetti's partner, Wendell H. Lovett (1922-2016), and architect Perry Johanson (1910-1981). The Bassetti House was located nearby to that of Lovett. Johanson, Bassetti and Morse formed an important professional and personal nexus during the 1940s and 1950s. Bassetti would work for Naramore's firm, Naramore, Bain, Brady and Johanson, between 10/1946 and 1947. Lovett would work for both NBBJ (1946 and 1948) and Bassetti and Morse (1948-1951) just after World War II.

While living with Gwen Bassetti, the couple resided in a Portage Bay houseboat and a farm in Goldendale, WA.

Bassetti passed away in an Oregon hospital from complications of a broken hip. A memorial service was held at the Lakeside School on 12/22/2013.


Fred Bassetti was the son of a Norwegian mother, Sophie (Sofie) Marie Forde (born 05/20/1887 in Førde, Norway-d. 07/19/1969 in Prosser, WA), and an Italian father, Frederick Michael (Federico Michele) Bassetti (b. 04/07/1887 in Turin, Italy-d. 12/31/1960 in Seattle, WA), a journalist and publisher, who operated Seattle's Italian-language newspaper, Gazzetta Italiana. Frederick M. Bassetti left Italy in the early 1900s and resettled in Toronto, ON, Canada. He remained here until 08/30/1908, when the made his way to the US via Charlotte, NY, aboard the S.S. Kingston. He relocated to the State of Washington in 09/1911. (See, Source Citation National Archives and Records Administration (Nara); Washington, D.c.; Naturalization Records of the U.s. District Court For the Western District of Washington, 1890-1957; Microfilm Roll: 42; Microfilm Serial: M1542, accessed 09/16/2021.)

F.M. Bassetti and Sophie Forde married on 03/21/1914 in Seattle. According to his parents' marriage license, Fred M. worked as a clerk, and Sophie as a domestic worker. (See, Source Citation Washington State Archives; Olympia, Washington; Washington Marriage Records, 1854-2013; Reference Number: kingcoarchmr_32236.tif, accessed 09/16/2021.)

His father became a naturalized American citizen in 10/1917 in Seattle. In 1927, Fred M. Bassetti had attained the position of Vice-president of the Italian Exchange and SS Company, and was Editor of the Gazetta Italiana. Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1927, p. 282.)

His father's parents, Federico and Aimoretti Bassetti, lived in Turin, where Bassetti visited in 1932-1933. He visited his paternal grandmother for nine months at this time, and remembered that he was enrolled in the fourth grade there at age 15. While in Turin, Bassetti recalled witnessing a rally of Il Duce, Benito Mussolini (1883-1945).

His mother came from Førde, Søndfjord, Norway, a small town north of the coastal city of Bergen. Sophie and F.M. had three children, two girls and a boy. His sisters included Yolanda Louise Bassetti Schuehle (born 10/07/1914 in Seattle, WA-d. 11/04/2005 in Bellevue, WA) and Helen Catherine Bassetti Rolie (born 10/18/1915 in Spokane, WA-d. 01/05/2007 in Seattle, WA). Yolanda married Robert George Schuehle (d. 2007) on 04/22/1939 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Seattle. (See Source Citation Washington State Archives; Olympia, Washington; Washington Marriage Records, 1854-2013; Reference Number: kingcoarchmcvol75_18, accessed 09/17/2021.) Helen wed Albert Gilmore Rolie (d. 2002) on 03/21/1939 in Seattle. (See, Source Citation Washington State Archives; Olympia, Washington; Washington Marriage Records, 1854-2013; Reference Number: kingcoarchmcvol74_373, accessed 09/16/2021.)


Bassetti married three times; he was wed to Mary Stuart Wilson Bassetti ((b. 06/28/1922 in Seattle, WA-d. 07/08/2020 in Lynnwood, WA) from 1944 until 1971. Her father was the architect Joseph W. Wilson (1878-1968), a designer of several Seattle landmarks, including the Northern Life Tower. They met while both attended the University of Washington. She studied interior design, likely working with the noted professor Hope Foote (1897-1983).

His second wife was Moira Catherine Feeney Bassetti (born in NB, Canada, c. 1933-d. 05/05/2021), whom he married on 06/29/1971 in Seattle. (See, Source Citation Washington State Archives; Olympia, Washington; Washington Marriage Records, 1854-2013; Reference Number: kingcoarchmc356382. accessed 09/15/2021.) The architects Ibsen A. Nelsen (1919-2001) and George R. Bartholick (1921-1998) served as witnesses. Bassetti was 54 and Moira Feenry, 38, They remained married from 1971-1985. (See Source Information: Washington, Marriage Records, 1865-2004 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: Washington State Archives. Olympia, Washington: Washington State Archives.Accessed 12/09/2015.) Her obituary in the University of Washington Magazine stated: "Moira Catherine Bassetti was recruited to UW from the University of British Columbia and had a successful academic career. She co-authored the publication 'Food and Man,' and was named to teh National Research Council of Canada. She died May 5 at the age of 88. " (See "Columns In Memory, Faculty and Friends: Moira Catherine Bassetti," University of Washington Magazine, vol. 32, no. 3, Fall 2021, p. 67.)

Bassetti's third wife, Gwenyth Piper Caldwell Bassetti, he married in 1989. (Previous to marrying Bassetti in 1989, Gwen had married Theo Caldwell, a developer with whom Bassetti worked in the 1950s, in 1974.) (Information written in a letter dated 10/06/2009 from Mary Bassetti to Alan Michelson corrected the latter's errors in an earlier record. The author is grateful to her for the corrections.)


Fred and Mary Wilson Bassetti had three daughters: Ann Bassetti, Catherine Bassetti and Margaret Bassetti.

He and Moira Feeney Bassetti had two children, Megan Bassetti and Michael Bassetti. In 2013, all of his daughters lived in Seattle, while his son resided in Madison, WI. (See Jim Brunner, Seattle, "Architect Fred Bassetti dies; he leaves indelible mark on Seattle," published 12/05/2013, accessed 09/15/2021.)

Bassetti also has acted as a step-father to Gwen Piper Caldwell's four children from her first marriage, Megan, Ben, Piper and Sam, as well as a step-father to her five sons with whom she raised with Theo Caldwell. (Again, this information came from Mary Bassetti via correspondence to the author, 10/06/2009.)

Biographical Notes

Bassetti was baptized in the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Seattle on 05/27/1917. (See, Source Citation Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Archives; Elk Grove Village, Illinois; Congregational Records, accessed 09/17/2021.)

The architect spoke Italian, Spanish and French. He may also have known some Norwegian through his mother's Scandinavian relatives.

His World War II draft registration card described Bassetti on 11/05/1942, as Caucasian with a light complexion, standing six-feet tall and weighing a modest 133 pounds. He had blue eyes and brown hair. A note on the card mentioned that he had a "graft on the fifth finger of his right hand." (See, Source Citation National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Washington, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 11, accessed 09/15/2021.)

In the summer of 1946, when the Head of the Harvard, Graduate School of Design, Walter Gropius, returned to Germany for the first time in ten years, Bassetti and his wife lived in the Gropius House in Lincoln, MA, house-sitting for 3 months. Bassetti worked for Alvar Aalto (1898-1976), working closely with the Finnish architect on the design of the Baker Dormitory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He also assisted Aalto in New York, NY, on a small commission for James Johnson Sweeney (1900-1986), Head of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art (1945-1946), for museum furniture.

Fred Bassetti, his wife and two daughters--Ann and Catherine--set sail from New York, NY, on 02/10/1956 bound for Naples, Italy, aboard the American Export Liner, S.S. Independence. (See, Source Citation The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels and Airplanes Departing from New York, New York, 07/01/1948-12/31/1956; NAI Number: 3335533; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: A4169; NARA Roll Number: 359, accessed 09/21/2021.)

In 1967, Bassetti purchased the former Oakland Hotel, built in 1917, at the corner of 4th Avenue and Columbia Street. He called this property "Columbia House." He added two floors to the building in 1979-1980. (See Polly Lane, Seattle Sunday Times, “Design challenge: United States Embassy in Lisbon, 09/02/1979, Real Estate Section, p. K5.)

In early 1979, Bassetti spent a month in the hospital as a result of skiing accident. (See Polly Lane, Seattle Sunday Times, “Design challenge: United States Embassy in Lisbon, 09/02/1979, Real Estate Section, p. K5.)

Associated Locations

  • Seattle, WA (Architect's Birth)
    Seattle, WA

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  • Portland, OR (Architect's Death)
    Portland, OR

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PCAD id: 1554

1411 4th Avenue Building, Downtown, Seattle, WA1929-1930SeattleWA
American Samoa Department of Education, Samoana High School, Utulei, Maoputasi County, Eastern District, American Samoa
American Telephone and Telegraph Company (A, T and T), Gateway Tower, Downtown, Seattle, WA1990SeattleWA
Armbruster, G.J., House, Lake Stevens, WA1948Lake StevensWA
Benton County Public Utilities District, Office Building K1955
Beyer Apartments, Fremont, Seattle, WA1978SeattleWA
Birnbaum, Z. William and Hilde M., House, Hilltop, Bellevue, WA1953-1954BellevueWA
Bullitt, Stimson and Katherine (Kay), House, Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA1955-1956SeattleWA
Caldwell House, Mercer Heights, Mercer Island, WA1954Mercer IslandWA
Caldwell, Theodore, Tract Houses, Seattle, WASeattleWA
Central Washington College of Education, Library #2, Ellensburg, WA1960-1961EllensburgWA
Central Washington State College (CWSC), Bouillion Building, Ellensburg, WA1961EllensburgWA
Central Washington State College (CWSC), Campus Plan, Ellensburg, WA1961EllensburgWA
Central Washington State College (CWSC), Hitchcock Hall, Ellensburg, WA1965-1966EllensburgWA
City of Kent, City Hall, Kent, WA1971KentWA
City of Seattle, City Hall #4, Seattle, WA2003-2005SeattleWA
City of Seattle, Fire Department (SFD), Station #17, University District, Seattle, WA1928-1929SeattleWA
City of Seattle, Parks and Recreation Department, Woodland Park, Zoo Master Plan #1, Seattle, WASeattleWA
City of Seattle, Woodland Park Zoo, Childrens' Zoo, Seattle, WASeattleWA
Dodd, Lloyd and Mary, House, Normandy Park, WA1950Normandy ParkWA
East Shore Unitarian Church, Bellevue, WA1956BellevueWA
Forrest, Marshall, House, Bellingham, WA1952BellinghamWA
Frey, Karl S., House, Mount Baker, Seattle, WA1962SeattleWA
Frye Art Museum, First Hill, Seattle, WA1952SeattleWA
Gamma Rho Apartment Building, Fremont, Seattle, WA1950-1951SeattleWA
Gerber House, Medina, WA1953
Harborview Medical Center, Campus, First Hill, Seattle, WA1931SeattleWA
Hoover, Benjamin, House, Seattle, WA1956SeattleWA
Isaacs, Walter F., House, Hilltop, Bellevue, WA1951-1952BellevueWA
James, William, House, Ravenna, Seattle, WASeattleWA
KIRO Radio and TV Station #2, Belltown, Seattle, WA1965SeattleWA
Lerchenmueller House, Hilltop, Bellevue, WA1955-1956BellevueCA
Loderi Place Apartments Project, University District, Seattle, WA1972SeattleWA
Makah Cultural Center, Neah Bay, WANeah BayWA
Martin, Gerald R. and Mildred A., House, Seattle, WA1952-1953SeattleWA
Mercer Island School District #400, Island Park Elementary School, Mercer Island, WAMercer IslandWA
Mercer Island School District #400, Lakeridge Elementary School, Mercer Island, WAMercer IslandWA
Mercer Island School District #400, Lakeview Elementary School, Mercer Island, WA1953-1954Mercer IslandWA
Mercer Island School District #400, Mercer Island High School, Mercer Island, WA1958Mercer IslandWA
Mercer Island School District #400, North Mercer Junior High School, Mercer Island, WA 1961Mercer IslandWA
Morse, John M. and Emily, House, Hilltop, Bellevue, WA1950BellevueWA
Norwood Village Houses, Bellevue, WA1950-1951BellevueWA
Norwood Village, 12123 SE 27th Street House, Bellevue, WABellevueWA
O'Brien, John L., House, Seattle, WA1953SeattleWA
PACCAR International, PACCAR Technical Facility, Mount Vernon, WAMount VernonWA
Paccar Incorporated, Paccar Technical Center, Mount Vernon, WAMount VernonWA
Public Market Center, Sanitary Market Building, Seattle, WA1910SeattleWA
Scheffer, Victor and Beth, House, Hilltop, Bellevue, WA1951BellevueWA
Seattle Aquarium, Waterfont, Seattle, WA1975-1976SeattleWA
Seattle Commons Project, South Lake Union, Seattle, WA1991-1995SeattleWA
Seattle Public Schools, Dearborn Park Elementary School, Seattle, WA1970-1971SeattleWA
Seattle Public Schools, Franklin, Benjamin, High School #2, Mount Baker, Seattle, WA1911-1912SeattleWA
Seattle Public Schools, Roosevelt High School, Seattle, WA1921-1922SeattleWA
Seattle Public Utilities District, East Pine Street Substation, Minor, Seattle, WA1965-1967SeattleWA
Shoreline School District #412, Shorewood High School, Shoreline, WA2011-2013ShorelineWA
Sunnyslope Homes Housing Development, Kennewick, WAKennewickWA
Tacoma Union Station, Tacoma, WA1909-1911TacomaWA
United States Air Force (USAF), McChord Air Force Base, Family Housing, McChord AFB, WA1957McChord Airforce BaseWA
United States Government, Department of State, U.S. Embassy, Lisbon, Portugal1980-1983Lisbon
United States Government, Federal Office Building #3, Downtown, Seattle, WA1971-1974SeattleWA
United States Navy (USN), Whidbey Island Naval Base, Housing, Whidbey Island, WA1961Whidbey IslandWA
University Professional Building, University District, Seattle, WA1954SeattleWA
University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Engineering Library, Seattle, WA1969SeattleWA
University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Loew, Edgar A., Hall, Seattle, WA1969SeattleWA
University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Physics Hall, Seattle, WA1927-1928SeattleWA
Washington State University (WSU), Avery Hall, Pullman, WA1971PullmanWA
Wertheimer, Steven P., and Estelle Asher, House, Mercer Island, WA 1958Mercer IslandWA
Western Washington State College (WWSC), Bookstore, Bellingham, WABellinghamWA
Western Washington State College (WWSC), Humanities Building, Bellingham, WABellinghamWA
Western Washington State College (WWSC), Ridgeway Dormitories, Bellingham, WA1964BellinghamWA
Western Washington State College (WWSC), Student Union, Bellingham, WA1957-1959BellinghamWA
Wood Block House, Mercer Island, WA1962Mercer IslandWA
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