In which Theresa reflects on what can happen when you look up

Photo by Theresa Barker.

Every week I walk past this majestic old building in downtown Seattle.  When I look up, I feel a sense of grandeur from the seasoned old bricks that make up its skin, from the layers and columns forming its shape, and from the multitude of narrow bright windows that nestle in the crevices of its vertical creases like small eyes looking out at the world.  I wonder who made this building, who designed its sleek-yet-antiquated lines, who paid the money to have this regal edifice put up in the middle of downtown Seattle?  It sits on a steep hill, like much of downtown, and it looks out upon a glorious view of Elliott Bay, the ferries steaming to and fro, sailboats and cargo ships and working-class tugboats plying the surface of waters populated with giant octopuses, salmon and small sharks, starfish, mussels and barnacles beneath the surface.  What has it seen in its 80- or 100-year history?  Who inhabits its offices?  Does it sense the humans that come and go inside its tallness?  I think the trees in front, with their small pale-green leaves, are playing, frolicking gleefully in front of the sturdy, stalwart edifice that sits behind them.  What do you think?

Here is another view, what you see from the street if you don’t look up!

Photo by Theresa Barker.

What building is this?  Did you guess?  Its name is the Seattle Tower.  (I Googled it just now, and that’s how I found out.)  Also known as the Northern Life Tower.  Here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia article on it.  Isn’t Google search amazing.

The Seattle Tower, originally known as the Northern Life Tower, is a 27-story skyscraper in downtown Seattle, Washington. The building is located on 1218 Third Avenue and is known as Seattle’s first art-deco tower. Its distinctive, ziggurat exterior is clad in 33 shades of brick designed to effect a gradient which lightens from the bottom to the top of the building. This is said to have been inspired by local rock formations. (from Wikipedia)

What have you noticed lately?  Do you walk by something every day and never quite look up to see what it is?  Thanks for visiting!

15 thoughts on “In which Theresa reflects on what can happen when you look up

  1. I LOVE looking at old buildings and trying to photograph them with my iPhone! The old architecture is so pleasing. And I love thinking about old Seattle. One of the women I wrote about in Kin Types and her adult daughters moved to Seattle from Kalamazoo 100 years ago. I can’t imagine that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my gosh, yes, it’s hard to imagine coming to Seattle that long ago. And I’m so glad to hear you’re drawn to old buildings too! There was something about this one that kept capturing my interest, now I think it might be the intricate brickwork and the mysterious feel of the architectural shape, almost like a temple. Thanks for sharing your passion, Luanne!

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      1. My favorite photo I got was around 2008 or 2010, something like that, in Dallas. There was a brand new mirrored building (I love those, too) and next to it a beautiful old building REFLECTED in the mirrored facade of the new! I need to find that photo. I wonder if the old building is still there. Yes, the brickwork is very intricate. Lovely.

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  2. It is lovely to meet the Seattle Tower. On the outside it does look majestic, and also very old school. Interesting to know it was inspired by rock formation. Its brown colour is a very earthly tone, such a contrast from so many glassed and window-facade office buildings in so many cities today. It’s very inquisitive of you to ask so many questions about it. Its outside certainly has a story, and so does its insides and stories among the humans that pass through it.

    These days I have been taking it easy and not doing much, just focusing on work and winding down after that. It’s almost summer here in Australia and I’m hoping to find and notice more lovely hiking routes and spots in the coming months. Today I went to a beach and it was amazing. However I forgot to bring my slippers and so had to walk barefoot on the sand – and the sand was burning hot under my feet! Did not expect that kind of heat 😀


  3. It is a magnificent building, Theresa. I love old architecture much more than the modern ones. I do love beautiful buildings in general. I even like watching buildings being built. And bridges! 🙂 There is something so rewarding in seeing something come up from nothing. I guess that’s why I once thought I’d like to go into construction. Hard work though. You took the vertical pic so beautifully.

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    1. Thank you, Anne! You and I both love old architecture, that’s interesting. I used to tell my mom, why do they tear down old buildings? and she would laugh at me (because they’re old), but I think something is lost when an old building is replaced by a modern one. 🙂

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