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Male, US, born 1897-06-02, died 1968-04-07

Associated with the firms network

Bain and Pries, Architects; Durham, Anderson and Freed, Architects; Graham, John and Company, Architects and Engineers; Howard, John Galen, Architect; Pries, Lionel H., Architect; Sumner, Charles Kaiser, Architect

Professional History


Draftsman, Charles Kaiser Sumner, Architect, San Francisco, CA, c. 1920, 1925.

Draftsman, John Galen Howard, Architect, Berkeley, CA, 1920.

Draftsman, DeArmond, Ashmead and Bicklet, Architects, Philadelphia, PA, 1921.

Draftsman, Office of the City Architect, John P.B. Sinkler, Philadelphia, PA, 1921-1922.

Head Draftsman, Edgar V. Seeler, Architect, Philadelphia, PA, 1922.

Draftsman, [George] Kelham and [William G.] Merchant, Associated Architects, San Francisco, CA, c. 1923-1925.

Principal, Lionel Pries, Architect, San Francisco, CA, 1923-1925; Pries worked on a handful of his own projects in San Francisco.

Supervising Architect, Bothin Helping Fund, Santa Barbara, CA, 1925;

Principal, Lionel Pries, Architect, Santa Barbara, CA, 1925-1926; he designed approximately 10-12 buildings in Santa Barbara before moving back to San Francisco, from 1926-1928; during this two year span in San Francisco, he produced designs for about 20 buildings.

Partner, Bain and Pries, Architects, Seattle, WA, 1928-1932.

Architect, Lionel Pries, Architect, Seattle, WA, 1932-1942, 1960-1968.

Draftsman, Durham, Anderson and Freed, Architects, Seattle, WA, 1958-1959.

Draftsman, John Graham and Company, Seattle, WA, 1959-1963.


Professor of Architecture, University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Department of Architecture, Seattle, WA, 1928-1958. For 30 years, Pries taught upper level design studio courses in the Department of Architecture. For many of those, he co-taught studios with Lance Gowen (1894-1958), another long-time faculty member, son of the legendary UW Professor of Oriental Languages, Herbert Gowen (1864-1960). Pries was an extraordinarily gifted draftsman, particularly adept at the art of watercolor sketching. He was a loyal to the Beaux-Arts educational method, a fact that put him at odds with younger instructors in the UW Department of Architecture after World War II. Pries emphasized knowledge of Classical and Gothic sources of inspiration, but did not rule out any style for use if it was appropriate to the task at hand. He broadened the cultural awareness of generations of UW students, inviting them to his home where he shared books, prints and music. Pries had an open mind, and had a deep affection for non-Western arts, particularly those of Asia and Mexico. His enthusiasm for various forms of Asian design validated study of this area for his students, and made Asian influence in their Puget Sound work more acceptable.

Professional Activities

Participated in the Camouflage School, Office of Civilian Defense, Seattle, WA, 1942;

Professional Awards

The College of Built Environments established an Award for Teaching Excellence in Pries's name.

Recipient, University of Washington, Seattle (UW), College of Built Environments, Distinguished Faculty Award for Lifetime Achievement, Seattle, WA, 2018. The College of Built Environments said of his achievement in teaching at the UW in 2018: "Lionel H. Pries (1897-1968) taught at UW from 1928 to 1958 and was the inspirational leader of the architecture program from the late 1920s through the mid-1940s. As a professional architect, he was one of the earliest practitioners to work in a Northwest regional mode of design. The UW CBE student-initiated Award for Teaching Excellence is named in his honor." (See University of Washington, Seattle (UW), College of Built, "Ten honored with new CBE Distinguished Faculty Award for Lifetime Achievement," published 2018, accessed 08/02/2022.)



B.Arch., University of California, Berkeley (UCB), Berkeley, CA, 1920; M.Arch., University of Pennsylvania (Penn), Philadelphia, PA, 1921; at Penn, Pries studied with the leading Beaux-Arts academician of this time in the U.S., Paul Cret; Pries served as Cret's graduate assistant at the Philadelphia T-Square Atelier in 1921-1922;



Born in San Francisco, CA and raised in Oakland, CA; his father worked at Gump's, the purveyor of fine interior furnishings to San Francisco's upper class; here, as a boy, according to Pries's biographer, Jeffrey Ochsner, is where he gained an appreciation for Asian artifacts.


Lionel Pries was gay, and due to social taboos of his time, had to remain closed about his personal life. While he had a distinguished teaching career for 30 years at the University of Washington, few, if any, students knew his secret. Even students, like Keith Kolb (b. 1922), who lived in Pries's house during his UW years and remained good friends with him after college, were unaware. The revelation of his homosexuality in 1958 led to his ouster from his teaching position; the removal was mysterious to many, and for many former colleagues it led to the loss of personal contact with him.

His University of California, Berkeley (UCB), nickname was "Spike." SSN: 538-22-2678.

Associated Locations

  • San Francisco, CA (Architect's Birth)
    San Francisco, CA

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

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PCAD id: 1835