The cornerstone for Denny Hall, the first structure to be built on the University of Washington campus, was laid on July 4, 1894. Designed by Charles W. Saunders, the four-story edifice contained a library, museum, music room, faculty offices, student lounge, six laboratories, and a 700-seat lecture hall. Originally called the Administration Building, it was renamed Denny Hall in 1910, after Arthur Armstrong Denny, one of the founders of the city of Seattle.
I intended these views of Denny Hall to be a lesson in composing and beginning a drawing—first framing the view, establishing a vertical measuring line, sizing and placing a major plane, and then roughing out the overall structure before developing the details.
Founded in 1980, the Nordic Heritage Museum occupied the former Daniel Webster Elementary School in a residential area of north Ballard before moving to its new home closer to downtown Ballard on May 5, 2018. The architectural firm of Mithun describes the central idea of their design thusly: “The new museum is organized around a linear ‘fjord’ that weaves together stories of homeland and the Nordic American experience. Bridges crossing the fjord intensify the experience of migration, connecting Nordic and Nordic American exhibits. A vertically-striated zinc skin wraps the building exterior; inside, fjord walls are composed of faceted white planes evoking its glacial origins.”
Below is an interior view of Fjord Hall, the central spine, along with a brief video clip of the process.
Harbor Steps is a grand urban staircase at the foot of University Street that connects 1st Avenue with Western Avenue. This view looks down toward Western Avenue with the soon-to-come-down Viaduct and West Seattle in the distance. What is difficult here, as with any view looking down a stairway, is that we often can’t see the stair treads themselves. So all we can do is indicate the different levels connected by the stairway.
While I usually enjoy drawing with a fountain pen, there are times for a pencil to do its work. Here is an example of a drawing of an eagle, showing the range of values and nuanced strokes for which a graphite pencil is uniquely suited.
St. James Cathedral, situated in the First Hill neighborhood above downtown Seattle, is the mother church of the Archdiocese of Seattle. Designed by the New York-based architectural firm of Heins & LaFarge and completed in 1907, it was designated a city landmark in 1984. Here are two views. The first is similar to one drawn back in 2013, looking from the side courtyard toward one of the twin spires; the other is of the interior. Also included are two video clips of the process.
What in plan appears to be a logical mid-block pathway is often not so evident when seen at street level, especially when the pathway involves changes in direction and elevation amid a lot of vegetation. Here is a view of a pedestrian pathway that connects North 34th and North 35th Streets, drawn while sitting at The Masonry, sipping a beer, and looking north up toward A.B. Ernst Park.
The second view (and video) is from where an addition to A.B. Ernst Park is to be developed, looking down toward 34th Street, from where the first view was drawn.
Here is another aspect of Wallingford Center, from the side opposite the view in my last post, showing the main entrance to the former Interlake Public School. Once I had completed the drawing, I noticed that the column-supported porch does not appear to be quite centered on the gabled projection. So if I were to draw this view again, I would make sure as I blocked the structure out to describe this alignment correctly—before filling in the details.
A fine example of the adaptive re-use of a landmark building is Wallingford Center, developed in 1985 by Lorig Associates and designed by the architecture firm of Tonkin Hoyne Lokan. The original 3-story, wood-frame structure, built in 1904 to house the Interlake Public School, now houses a mix of shops, restaurants, and apartments. It is a historic Seattle landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Finding things while rummaging around looking for other items from long ago always triggers memories. One example are these ballpoint-pen sketches from 1963, when an ND classmate invited me to spend Christmas break with his family on Long Island. During a day trip into the City, I was drawn to these individuals—creating “characters”—dining at a Horn & Hardart, an early version of a fast-food restaurant at the corner of 42nd Street and 6th Avenue. I still remember perusing the stacks of glass-doored dispensers containing a variety of hot and cold foods, putting nickels into the selected slot, and removing the plate of food.
When I entered the architecture program at the University of Notre Dame in the fall of 1961, my first freehand drawing course began with charcoal studies of plaster casts. Being young and naive, I didn’t fully appreciate the pedagogy behind these tasks, but in hindsight, I can see now that these studies helped promote looking closely at geometric forms, noticing how light illuminated and reflected off of their surfaces, and appreciating the resulting subtle gradations of value. And then the challenge was trying to capture these visual qualities with a charcoal stick, a paper stump for smoothing and blending, and a kneaded eraser for lightening and creating highlights.