Location: 415 15th Ave SW
mid-Century modern; State and National registers
Washington State Library (Joel Pritchard) Building, around 1959, Hugh Stratford Photograph, State Library Collection, Digital Archives
State Library building today (2014), Photograph courtesy of Deb Ross
The Joel Pritchard building was the first and only structure erected specifically to house the Washington State Library collection. It was constructed in 1959 with a design by noted architect Paul Thiry, who also designed the buildings at the Century 21 Seattle World’s Fair held in 1962. The building is constructed out of Wilkeson sandstone and, while modern, complements the classical design of the rest of west Capitol Campus. It closes off the south end of the campus with a broad vista leading from the Legislative Building. The building houses artwork by some of our state’s most important artists, including Mark Tobey, Kenneth Callahan, and James Fitzgerald. Thiry received a national award of excellent from the American Institute of Architects for the building in 1963. The building was renamed in the late 1970s to honor legislator and civil rights leader Joel Pritchard.
The current status (2023) of the building is uncertain as it is no longer in use as the State Library and faces infrastructure challenges.
Copyright © 2022 Deborah Ross