Rahul Sharma (Editor)

1201 Third Avenue

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Type  Commercial offices
Roof  235.31 m (772.0 ft)
Height  235 m
Construction started  1986
Floor area  10 ha
Completed  1988
Floor count  55 6 below ground
Floors  55
Opened  1988
Architecture firm  Kohn Pedersen Fox
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Former names  Washington Mutual Tower The Spark Plug
Location  1201 Third Avenue Seattle, Washington
Similar  Columbia Center, Seattle Municipal Tower, Russell Investments Center, The Mark, Safeco Plaza

1201 Third Avenue, formerly Washington Mutual Tower is a 235.31 m (772.0 ft), 55-story skyscraper in downtown Seattle, Washington. It is the second tallest building in the city, the eighth tallest on the West Coast of the United States, and the 74th tallest in the United States. Developed by Wright Runstad & Company, construction began in 1986 and finished in 1988. 1201 Third Avenue 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 2006, the company moved across the street to the WaMu Center (renamed the Russell Investments Center after the bank collapsed in 2008).


Map of 1201 Third Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101, USA


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 Bus Tunnel (later renamed the Downtown Seattle 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.

Appearances in the media

  • A CGI version of this building makes an appearance on the teaser trailer for the film Inception (2010). It is found toward the end of the trailer on the curved cityscape where the movie's namesake has been carved out.
  • References

    1201 Third Avenue Wikipedia

    Similar Topics
    Columbia Center
    Russell Investments Center
    Seattle Municipal Tower