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Honors Archive: Dorman Anderson FAIA

May 6, 1939 - March 4, 2006
Curator: Marga Rose Hancock Hon. AIA
Memorial notice, Seattle P-I 3/14/06

Dorman Anderson FAIA (B Architectural Engineering WSU 1963, MArch IIT 1967, MBA UW 1987) experienced his first three years of architectural practice in the Chicago office of Mies van der Rohe, before returning to WSU to teach for the next seven years. He departed a tenured position at WSU to join the staff at NBBJ, where he practiced from 1974 until his retirement in 2002.

His work on projects that shape the Seattle skyline and the urban fabric of cities around the world brought him in contact with civic, economic, and social cultures of great diversity - as well as into relationships with powerful forces and figures in the world of design and development. Key local projects include Two Union Square, Market Place Tower, Merrill Place, and the rehabilitation of the Four Seasons Olympic Hotel.

Dorm addressed the AIA Seattle Fellows/Honors Council September 12, 2001 – in the immediate and confusing aftermath of the terrorist attacks. To gather with Dorm that day somehow helped assert, at least momentarily, a sense of calm balance and orderly community, establishing a safe place where, with others, one might begin to make sense of a radically-unsettled world. In his remarks, Dorm focused on some of the special people and situations he encountered in the course of his far-reaching career. His self-deprecating and humorously-told stories of his modest small-town beginnings in eastern Washington and the expansion of his career to encompass major clients and significant structures offered a sense of hope and possibility - typical outcomes of conversation with Dorm.

Supporting his work and his profound and genuine optimism about the potential of cities, his record of civic activism epitomizes the architect's commitment to the urban environment. Among highlights of a long record of professional commitments: service on the advisory committee for Seattle's 1985 Downtown Plan, Chair of the Pioneer Square Historic Preservation Board, the Seattle Design Review Board, Downtown Seattle Association, and AIA Seattle President 1989-90. Among many successes, Dorm earned the honor of elevation to the AIA College of Fellows in 1992.

Dorm maintained a lifelong relationship with colleagues from the Mies office and a regard for the urban delights of Chicago - where he took part in collegial festivities at AIA Convention in 2004. Afflicted in the last weeks of his life with a debilitating brain syndrome, he made a special effort to attend the LifeWorks series in mid-January, where with his wife Sandy and their daughter Diane he joined in the event featuring a long-time family friend, Lara Swimmer. In this gracious act he demonstrated the remarkable strength of character, buoyant good humor, and connection with his profession and his colleagues that throughout his life inspired the sincere respect, admiration, and affection of those who worked with and came to know him - his many friends in the extended AIA Seattle community and around the world.

Sandy Anderson shares the image of Dorm's final days in a sun-filled room at Virginia Mason Hospital overlooking Two Union Square. He died with his family around him, "peaceful and comfortable to the end."

Survivors include Sandy, his wife of 44 years, their daughters Diane and Valerie, and three grandchildren.

On behalf of his professional colleagues, AIA Seattle has made a donation in memory of Dorman Anderson FAIA to Seattle Architecture Foundation.

Dorm's many admiring friends and colleagues joined the family at an Open House honoring Dorman Anderson March 16 at Seattle Yacht Club, with powerful memories and tributes.

In lieu of flowers...
In response to many who have asked, the family suggests that those wishing to make a gift in Dorm's memory lease consider a gift to:
Virginia Mason Foundation
Dorman Anderson Memorial Fund
PO Box 1930
Seattle, WA 98111

Gifts in Dorm's name to VM Foundation will help fund research to discover the causes and cures of autoimmune diseases.

Jim Kent and others associated with Dorm at WSU have honored Dorm and his passion for higher education by establishing a scholarship in his name, initially as part of WSU's Weller Architecture Excellence Fund, managed by the WSU College of Engineering and Architecture. Please direct checks (with notation 'Dorman Anderson Fund') to
WSU Foundation/ATTN Kevin Harvey
PO Box 641927
Pullman, WA 99164-1927

Alternatively, honoring Dorm's lifelong support for education at all levels, friends might consider a gift in his name for a scholarship or to the school or library of their choice.


Dorm Anderson FAIA

His colleagues remember Dorm:
·Jim Suehiro AIA: "A huge loss to all of us of a well-loved colleague, and especially for the younger architects he mentored. Most notably, he guided us by example to be good people to each other, as well as great architects."
·Ed Weinstein FAIA: "Dorm was a real gentleman and a thoughtful architect. We will miss him greatly."
·Roger Williams FAIA: "Dorm had an exceptional influence on every person and place he touched: architects, developers, communities, students, and most of all family and friends.
"Pullman, Chicago, Seattle... The magnificent urban work, the quiet modern Palouse houses, the WSU connection. Our lives will miss a gentle, refined and intelligent friend who always announced his presence with that unique, infectious laugh. I am a better person for having Dorm's friendship."
·Peter Pran FAIA: "Dorman was a superb architect and a person of utmost integrity. He was a leading principal on several firm-defining projects in NBBJ. He was respected by everybody he worked with and held in affection by most who knew him. He was completely dedicated to his architecture profession, and had an undying commitment to modern architecture and to the improvement of our urban environment.
"Always kind, warm and passionate, he was a true collaborator, who brought out the best in people. We became friends when we both worked for Mies in Chicago. More than anyone, Dorman was instrumental in my starting my teaching carrier at Washington State University,when he was a professor there; and later in my joining NBBJ, where he was a principal. My gratitude is forever.
"He was the most loyal and trusted friend one could know in life. I have personally lost a great friend."
·Richard W. Hobbs FAIA: "Dorm was a strong quiet leader with a sense of calm and efficiency. I could always, without question, count on Dorm with his sensitivity and strength. We have lost a strong pillar in our architectural community."
�Jeffrey Bailey AIA: "Dorm Anderson touched the hearts of all of those he mentored. I was lucky enough to be one of those people.
"From a professional point; he was calm, clear, and patient. From the heart, he cared how you were 'feeling' about what you were doing. The professional knowledge, the personal care, and a few 'working with Mies' stories resulted in lifelong inspiration. Thanks Dorm, thanks!"
·Bert Gregory AIA: "Wonderful Dorm was the model of a great citizen architect, always seeking what was best for our community through insightful comments, civic leadership, and great design. His gentle way has helped guide Seattle to be a better place, while serving as a model for young architects in city engagement. Dorm was a true gift, we will miss him dearly, but happy his spirit touched us and our community."
·Jim Jonassen FAIA:
"Dorm Anderson was a gentle man, with a deep commitment to make good communities. He was a gentleman, a true architect. He was a wonderful, self-effacing talent that enriched the lives of clients and fellow architects. He was an extraordinary colleague who is missed by all of us at NBBJ who worked alongside him."
·Robert M. Ford FAIA (Starkville, MS): "Fresh out of U of W and Illinois, I had the honor of teaching architecture alongside Dorm Anderson 1966-1975 as he helped WSU become nationally recognized and accredited. Dorm practiced design/build in the Palouse before it was fashionable. We moved our fifth-year students to a storefront studio on Main Street and redesigned Pullman. We led our students to Chicago, San Francisco and Boston. Students such as Miller, Hull, Bevans and Llewellyn are but a few touched by this fine architect and human being. His abilities have transformed my home town of Seattle.
"'Make no little plans... they have no power to stir men's blood.' Dorm Anderson has influenced generations of architects through his teaching and noteworthy practice. His legacy extends far beyond his time with us. Fair sailing, old friend!!!"
·Steve McConnell FAIA:
"I had the pleasure of working closely with Dorm at NBBJ for a number of years, most notably during the long process to plan and design the Seattle Federal Courthouse. Dorm brought grace to the profession of architecture through selfless dedication and advocacy. His commitment to design excellence and modernism was ever-present. Dorm's engaging nature and wisdom created an environment that brought out the best in people. He was a leader who somehow always managed to leave you feeling better about yourself and your ideas. Dorm offered all of us the example of a gentleman architect who upheld our profession, urban design interests, and design excellence."
·David M. Scott FAIA (CLICK HERE)
·Richard White (CLICK HERE)

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