A number of events are coming up for people interested in preserving Northwest modernism, from Googie to Brutalism to starship chic. Here's a quick rundown and reminder of doings connected to stories I've been covering on Crosscut.Nuclear Barbecue:
The Friends of the Nuclear Reactor Building (More Hall Annex) will be doing an art installation at the former reactor site on Friday, May 16. The reactor building is located on the University of Washington campus and Abby Martin, the graduate student trying to save the historic building from demolition, is coordinating the event, which will include petitions to sign and a barbecue. The Nuke building was designed by a group of prominent Northwest designers in the early 1960s who achieved a structure that was elegant in its Brutalism. It is a powerful concrete box that once housed an operational "teaching reactor" for budding nuclear engineers, yet with windows open to outsiders, who could observe the previously secretive process of generating nuclear reactions. Martin says students in architecture and engineering are being invited to the event, but it's open to anyone with an interest in the building. The installation starts at 5:30 p.m. and the event runs "until dark." It should leave you with a warm afterglow.The High Priest of Googie: Author and architecture critic Alan Hess, the expert of Googie and modern roadside architecture, is coming to Seattle courtesy of Docomomo-wewa, Historic Seattle, and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation. The topic of his lecture: "A Second Look: Googie Architecture and the Modern Ideal." Hess is architecture critic for the San Jose Mercury News and according to the Docomomo-Wewa Web site, "is the author of Googie Redux: Ultramodern Roadside Architecture (2004) and Googie: Fifties Coffee Shop Architecture (1985). As a practicing architect and historian, Hess documents the emerging suburban metropolises of the West." He'll tell us what Googie is, and why it's important. Hess has been a long-distance advocate of saving the imperiled landmark Ballard Mannings/Denny's. The event is May 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Swedish Cultural Center in Seattle. Tickets are $10 and available here. Seattle's alien shuttlecraft:
One of the city's oddest, most distinctive modern homes is the Egan House (1500 Lakeview Blvd. E.). This modernist triangular structure is stuck into the wooded hillside below St. Mark's Cathedral between Eastlake and Capitol Hill and turns 50 this year (construction began in 1958 and was completed in '59). Seattle Post-Intelligencer architecture critic Lawrence Cheek recently described it as "a white wedge chiseling into a forested hillside like an alien starship's landing shuttle." It was designed by architect Robert Reichert for Admiral Willard Egan. It is currently owned, operated, and has been restored by Historic Seattle. The group will mark the "alien starship's shuttle" anniversary with "tea and tours" on August 17, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. — admission is free and donations accepted.Ballard diner update: The Seattle Landmarks and Preservation Board will be meeting on May 21 to review a number of new nominations and also discuss the "controls and incentives" negotiations over the Ballard Manning's/Denny's, which was voted a city landmark earlier this year. Owner Benaroya has maintained that it cannot save the diner and make a reasonable profit on the building. They have threatened to sue if the Landmarks Board or city hearing examiner don't overturn the Manning's/Denny's status. The building's advocates have said this is nonsense and that the structure could be incorporated into a reconceived development on the site. At present, the building sits empty and is looking forlorn, tagged with graffiti and surrounded by chain link fence. Beth Chave of the Landmarks Board staff estimates the diner won't come up for discussion before 4:40 p.m. The meeting is in Room 4060 of Seattle Municipal Tower and starts at 3:30 p.m.