Washington Mutual Tower

1201 Third Avenue, formerly Washington Mutual Tower is the second tallest skyscraper in the downtown Seattle skyline. At 55 stories and 235.31 m (772.0 ft), it is the eighth tallest skyscraper on the West Coast. Developed by Wright Runstad & Company, construction began in 1986 and finished in 1988. The building was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and The McKinley Architects. The building was the world headquarters of the financial company Washington Mutual from the building's opening until the company moved into the WaMu Center across the street in 2006.

Kohn Pedersen Fox was hired to design the tower while visiting Seattle to be interviewed as a possible candidate for the job of designing the Seattle Art Museum. It was the first major office building built under Seattle’s 1985 downtown zoning plan, largely implemented in response to the Columbia Center, which called for height limits, interesting profiles, and height and density bonuses for public amenities to create a 24 hour downtown. The tower took advantage of all the height bonuses for public amenities that the 1985 plan called for including an entrance to the Metro Transit Tunnel, retail space, day care, public plaza, sculptured top, hillside public escalators and lobby/atrium public access as well as donating $2.5 million for off-site housing. By providing the amenities the designers were able to add 28 stories to the tower and almost double the base floor area ratio of the site. The building was built on the site of the 12-story Savoy Hotel which was imploded in 1986, however the architects incorporated the historic Brooklyn Building into the design of the tower.

The New York Times named it one of the three best new office buildings in the United States in 1988, and in the May 1989 issue of Architecture Magazine Walter McQuade called it "perhaps the best recent addition to any U.S. skyline." Paul Goldberger said of the tower, “The building seems proud of its height; for all its classical elements it has a certain sleekness, and in this sense it is characteristic of our time, at least in intention, for it bespeaks a desire to combine the formal imagery of classicism and the energizing aura of modernity.” Seattlites have voted the 55-story skyscraper as one of their favorite buildings. The building is managed by Wright Runstad & Company.


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