Page D2.1 . 30 August 2000                     
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  • Big Ideas Behind Not So Big Houses

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    A Master Architect of the Pacific Northwest

    by Justin Henderson

    Editor's note: Roland Terry has been one of Seattle, Washington's most beloved architects for nearly 50 years. He was a practitioner of the "Northwest Style," along with Pietro Belluschi and John Yeon. The following is an excerpt from a recently published retrospective of his work, based on interviews with Terry's contemporaries.

    By 1960, Roland Terry was established as one of the Seattle area's most highly regarded residential and commercial architects. Over the next several decades, until retiring in the early 1990s, Terry designed and built dozens of architecturally outstanding residences and numerous restaurants, hotels, offices, and other commercial projects.

    Robert Egan began working for Roland Terry as a draftsman in the 1960s and was promoted to associate and eventually to partner. He explains that Terry's foremost goal was to make people comfortable.

    "This is not accomplished by constantly changing things and chasing after trends," says Egan. "Instead, you stay within the existing concept, so it will last. We did not do Hollywood stuff with a new look every three years. The houses were always designed with proportion in mind, and how it felt to move from room to room. The first image upon entryŚwhat you seeŚwas important, and every space or room had its importance in relation to the others."

    Egan continues: "The houses were always richly detailed, to the point where the details didn't stand out individually but instead formed a whole. This meant that people would enter a room and like it, without immediately focusing on a single element. The designs encompassed everything, and everything knit together. Yet the houses were totally different, each possessing its own character."



    ArchWeek Photo

    Multiple decks, plantings, and stairs connect the Philip and Marvell Stewart house with the swimming pool.
    Photo: Donna Day

    ArchWeek Photo

    At the Philip and Marvell Stewart house, Terry created a sheltered exterior colonnade and a teahouse, linked to the main building via an indoor gallery. Every room offers a view of Puget Sound.
    Photo: Donna Day


    Click on thumbnail images
    to view full-size pictures.

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