Pacific Tower

Pacific Tower
  1. About the Pacific Tower in Seattle
    1. Building Catalogations
  2. Architect and team
  3. Architectureal style
  4. Spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials

The Pacific Tower is an Art-deco skyscraper designed by Bebb & Gould and built in 1933 in Seattle, WA.

Pacific Tower is not the only name you might know this building by though. It is common for companies to want to attach their names to iconic buildings when they move in, or for the general public to come up with nicknames, and this one is no exception. The building has changed names several times over the years, and is also known as:

  • US Marine Hospital between 1933 and 1983.
  • Pacific Medical Center between 1983 and 1985.
  • Preservation and Development Authority between 1985 and 1991.
  • PacMed Building between 1991 and 2003.
  • Pacific Hospital from 2003 until this day.

Its precise street address is 1200 12th Avenue South, Seattle, WA. You can also find it on the map here.

The Pacific Tower is a structure of significant importance both for the city of Seattle and the United States as a nation. The building embodies the distinctive characteristic features of the time in which it was built and the Art Deco style. Because of that, the Pacific Tower was officially included in the National Register of Historic Places on December 21st 1979.

The building has been restored 6 times over the years to ensure its conservation and adaptation to the pass of time. The main restoration works happened in 1953, 1975, 1980, 1994, 2001 and 2022.

Building's timeline

US Marine Hospital
Added to the NRHP
Pacific Medical Center
Preservation and Development Authority
PacMed Building
Pacific Hospital
years ago
  1. 1953 - A three-story annex was added to the initial structure.
  2. 1975 - Two towers were added to the south side.
  3. 1980 - A laboratory and a primary care room were built.
  4. 1991 to 1994 - Modrenization effors to enhance earthquake resistence measures were made. A new tower on the norht side was also added. The architect in charge was Zimmer Gunsul Frasca.
  5. 2001 - Structural rehabilitation was undertaken due to the Nisqually earth quake.
  6. 2022 - New expansion to add 270 units of affordable housing.

Architect and team

Bebb & Gould was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design. But there was also one other architect involved, as far as we know. We are talking about John Graham & Company.

Bebb & Gould and the other architects already mentioned were in charge of the architectural design, however, architecture is a complex discipline, which usually involves many professionals from different fields, without whom this building would have not been possible. We will surely be leaving out a lot of names here, but at the very least we know that there was one other part involved, that was Kenneth Callahan as the collaborating Artist.

Architectural Style

The Pacific Tower can be categorized as an Art-deco building.

The Art Deco movement flourished during the 1920s and 1930s, with many historians marking the outbreak of World War II as its final decline. Even though a couple of decades might not seem as much, the Art Deco movement had a great impact on architecture, and it's widely represented in many American cities due to the development boom that happened during that time.

Art Deco marked the abandonment of traditional historicism and the embracement of modern living and the age of the machine. In architecture, that meant leaving behind the ornaments of Beux-Arts and Neo-Gothic buildings and instead favoring simplicity and visual impact through geometric shapes, clean lines, and symmetrical designs. Ornaments were still an important part of the design, but they became bold and lavish, and were often inspired by ancient cultures or industrial imagery, instead of nature.

The Pacific Tower was completed in 1933, right when the Art Deco movement was at its peak, so it kind of went with the trend at that time.

Spaces & Uses

The Pacific Tower reaches an architectural height of 220ft (67m). It has a total of 16 floors.

The building sits on a 409,028 sqf (38,000m2) piece of land , and offers a total of 259,701 sqf (24,127m2) of usable space.

When it opened its doors to the public in 1933, the Pacific Tower was primarily used as Medical space. That however, is no longer the case, and today it mainly provides Education space, with other complementary uses such as governmental, and residential spaces.

220ft (67m)

Materials & Structure

From an aesthetic point of view, the facade features decorative spandrels which emphasize the windows, as well as some terracotta ornamental details and brick patterns. On the sides of the building's entrance, an anchor and a caduceus, symbols used by the US Navy Hospital Corps which represent medicine, adorn the area, whicle a zigzag glasswork with dark metal frames creates an overhang above the entrance door.