Olson Kundig Architects
2012 AIA Seattle Honor Award
Photo Credit: Dwight Eschliman, Benjamin Benschneider
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.
• Jerry Gropp AIA: "Roland did some wonderfully sophisticated & uncommonly subtle designs."
*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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