top of page
  • Writer's pictureEric Akines

The Importance of Mid-Century Modern Architecture in the Pacific Northwest


The Pacific Northwest region of the United States has a rich history of mid-century architecture, and some of the most notable architects of this era made their mark in this region. From their innovative designs to their commitment to sustainability, these architects have helped shape the built environment of the Pacific Northwest, and their legacy continues to inspire architects and designers today.

One of my favorite aspects of mid-century architecture in the Pacific Northwest was the integration of indoor and outdoor spaces. The use of large windows and sliding glass doors helped to blur the lines between the interior and exterior, creating a seamless connection between the two. This was especially important in the Pacific Northwest, where the beauty of the natural environment was a major draw for residents and visitors alike.

Mid-century architecture also had a significant impact on the way people lived and worked in the Pacific Northwest. The style was a response to the changing needs of post-war society, with a focus on flexibility and functionality. Homes were designed to be easily adaptable, with open floor plans and flexible spaces that could be used for a variety of purposes. Similarly, office buildings and other commercial structures were designed with an eye towards efficiency, with large open spaces and minimal walls and partitions.

A few of the notable architects of the mid-century modern movement in the Pacific Northwest include the following:


  1. Paul Thiry: Thiry was a leading architect of the mid-century era in the Pacific Northwest. He was known for his modernist designs, which were characterized by clean lines, geometric shapes, and an emphasis on function. Thiry's most notable works include the Century 21 Exposition in Seattle and the Washington State Pavilion at the 1962 World's Fair.

  2. John Yeon: Yeon was a leading figure in the Pacific Northwest architecture scene in the mid-twentieth century. He was known for his attention to detail, and his work was characterized by its use of natural materials, such as wood and stone, and its integration with the surrounding landscape. Some of Yeon's most notable works include the Watzek House and the Parker House.

  3. Van Evera Bailey: Van Evera Bailey was another important architect of the mid-century era in the Pacific Northwest. He was known for his innovative designs and his commitment to sustainability, and his work was characterized by its use of natural materials, such as wood and stone, and its integration with the surrounding landscape. Bailey's most notable works include the Powell House and the Meeker House.

  4. Richard Neutra: Believe it or not, Richard Neutra was a prominent architect of the mid-century era who actually did some work in the Pacific Northwest. Many think of him for his world-renowned work in Palm Springs, however it's a best kept secret that he has a presence in the greater Northwest. He was known for his modernist designs and his commitment to sustainability, and his work was characterized by its use of natural materials, such as glass and concrete, and its integration with the surrounding landscape. Neutra's most notable works include the Cyclorama Building and the Valley house.

  5. William Wilson Wurster: William Wilson Wurster was a prominent architect of the mid-century era who worked in the Pacific Northwest. He was known for his commitment to sustainability and his use of natural materials, such as wood and stone, and his work was characterized by its integration with the surrounding landscape. Wurster's most notable works include the Park King House and the Madison Park Apartments.


In conclusion, the Pacific Northwest has a rich history of mid-century architecture, and these architects have left a lasting impact on the region. From their innovative designs to their commitment to sustainability, these architects have helped shape the Pacific Northwest into the place it is today. Their legacy continues to inspire architects and designers, and their work remains a testament to the importance of mid-century architecture in the Pacific Northwest.

50 views0 comments
bottom of page