Architect Ralph Anderson was a lifelong friend of Evert Södergren and enthusiastically embraced Södergren's invitation to help design the Studio House.
Born in 1924, Ralph Anderson received his architectural training at the University of Washington, graduating in 1951. He briefly worked at the office of Paul H. Kirk, FAIA before opening his own practice in the late 1950s. He received his Washington State architectural license in 1954.
While Anderson’s early projects encompassed the international modernist aesthetics of Mies van de Rohe, he shifted to a new mode of thinking and crafted new work that embraced the landscape of the Pacific Northwest landscape. His design embraced verticality, with broad windows that capitalize on views as well as hovering roof lines to protect the siding and interiors from rain. This bold and new work came to epitomize what became known as the Northwest Regional Style.
Many of Anderson's work catered to the affluent residents of Bellevue and Mercer Island. Many of his projects, both residential and commercial, were featured in a variety of local and regional newspapers and magazines including the Seattle Times, Architecture West, Sunset, House Beautiful, Architectural Record, and Pacific Architect & Builder.
Anderson’s commercial buildings extended his aesthetics, incorporating brick and wood to create a playful yet comfortable working environment. Notable projects include Bellefield Office Park (1972) in Bellevue; the Middleton, Berner & Wood Medical Building (1974); several buildings at the University of Washington Institute of Oceanography (1962-67) on Orcas Island; Fisheries Center Addition at the University of Washington (1968); and the Ambaum Medical & Dental Clinic (1965) in Seattle.
In addition to his new work, Anderson embraced the region's architectural history. He was instrumental in saving Pioneer Square and Pike Place Market in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He also purchased and rehabilitated several buildings in Pioneer Square including the Grand Central Building (1971) and the Pioneer Building (1970-75). Other restoration/rehabilitation projects included Fort Worden Commander House (1976), and the Fisher Studio Building and the Company Store at Port Gamble. Anderson's adaptive reuse projects included the American Can Co. Plant which he skillfully turned into the Seattle Trade Center.
Anderson’s impact on Seattle's built environment continues to be felt, not just through buildings, but also through the new generation of architects he mentored, nearly all of whom found new ways to continue his tradition of merging the natural Pacific Northwest landscape into the physical architecture of a structure. These architects included George Suyama, David Fukui, Jim Olson, Jerry Stickney, Ron Murphy and Gordon Walker.
"I tried to use a lot of wood, and I tried to work with the contours, textures and vegetation of the Northwest, the wooded environment. Quite often I would have big, hovering roofs that would open up to the view."
RESTORATION & REHABILITATION