2013 Award of Honor: Garage
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Photo Credit: Amos Morgan Photography

 

AIA Seattle Medalist 1991: Roland Terry FAIA

Roland Terry FAIA 
June 2, 1917 - June 8, 2006
 
Born and raised in Seattle, Roland Terry studied art and architecture (BArch UW 1940), expanding his vision with world travel.

In his study of Roland Terry in Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects (UW Press, 1994), Thomas Veith notes that Roland Terry "generally practiced in a wood-based idiom often associated with the work of Northwest Modernists in the 1950s, [and] earned a reputation for attention to detail and the integration of architecture with interior and landscape design."

His productive career spanned some five decades, beginning with work on Canlis Restaurant in Seattle in the late 1940s. By 1960, Roland Terry had become one of the Seattle area's most highly regarded residential architects, with a similarly respected body of restaurants, hotels (Half Moon Hotel at Montego Bay, Jamaica and the Kahala Hilton [later Mandarin Oriental] Hotel in Honolulu), offices, and other commercial projects, notably including the original flagship Nordstrom store in downtown Seattle and Washington Park Towers, on Lake Washington. His peers acclaim his "matchless skill" at working with his clients, particularly in interior design.

He retired from practice in the early 1990s, to his retreat on Lopez Island which he considered his own best work. In 2000, UW Press published Roland Terry, Master Northwest Architect, by Justin Henderson.

 

His colleagues of several generations have noted and benefited from his originality and influence in the development of Northwest Modernism, and in 1991 recognized his role in advancing Northwest design with the AIA Seattle Medal, the organization's highest honor accorded an architect. 


Roland Terry FAIA

 

His colleagues remember Roland Terry:
· Wendell Lovett FAIA: "I didn't know Roland Terry well, but whenever we did speak I was impressed with his casual and modest demeanor.
"His architecture, especially his houses, always struck me as places in which one could relax, read a good book and enjoy life. They also seemed at peace with their settings. Roland will surely be missed."
· William Trogdon FAIA: "Dottie [Dorothy Trogdon] worked with Terry and Moore 52 years ago, answering the phone and drafting on the Hauberg and other homes prior to our leaving Seattle for Spokane. Back then she became pregnant with Ben. When Dottie told Roland that she was pregnant he said, 'Wonderful, take off a week, have the baby and get back here to work.' Phil Moore, his then partner and a family man, just shook his head in dismay at Roland's concept of nurturing a new baby.
"As I recall, Roland Terry was not really accepted as an 'Architect' in the fifties (when I became an AIA Member) because he was deeply into interior 'decorating' and the 'landscaping' of his projects .. a comprehensive design approach. His interest in the full package of building design, interior design, and landscaping was very unique back then. But what an influence he, Paul Thiry, and others had on us young designers and architects.
"Roland was so far ahead of his time that it took the architectural profession at least two decades to catch up with him. Too many years later, his talents were finally recognized by the AIA and he was elevated to the College of Fellows.
"Architect Roland Terry, FAIA leaves a body of work that reflects the soul of our contemporary indigenous Pacific Northwest."

 Jerry Gropp AIA: "Roland did some wonderfully sophisticated & uncommonly subtle designs."

Andrew R. Goulding AIA SEGD: "I delivered blueprints as a boy, when my father owned Olympic Blueprint Company. Mid-fifties? I remember being awed by the grand foyer of Roland Terry's fabulous mansion on east Capitol Hill."

References:
*Roland Terry, Master Northwest Architect, by Justin Henderson (UW Press, 2000)

*"A Master Architect of the Pacific Northwest," by Justin Henderson, ArchitectureWeek

*"Reflections of a NW architect," by Lucy Mohl in The Seattle Times 6/11/06, describes Roland Terry as "an icon of a style associated with this region, and a leading force – along with Paul Hayden Kirk, Ralph Anderson, Wendell Lovett, Victor Steinbrueck and Fred Bassetti – behind the rise of modernist buildings in the postwar period and through the middle of the 20th century."

 

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