[All images by Andrew van Leeuwen]
One year ago, the book on the Pacific Northwest architect Gordon Walker was published. A few of us here at BUILD were intimately involved in the realization of Walker’s story, and the experience allowed us to work with an extraordinary team of individuals. One of these was Grant Hildebrand, architect, architectural historian, Professor Emeritus, and author of ten well-regarded books on architecture and architects. Recently, Hildebrand turned his attention to the work of Paul Hayden Kirk, who wrote the playbook for Pacific Northwest modernism. In Hildebrand’s words:
From 1951 through the mi-1970s, Paul Hayden Kirk created an architecture of unique and extraordinary character. His strength was as an architect of small buildings—houses, neighborhood clinics, professional offices, a library and a church, among many others. Wood was his material of choice, for interior and exterior surfaces, and for the unique exposed structures that distinguish his architecture. The quality of his work was unsurpassed in America in its time, yet Kirk’s story remains little known, and it needs telling.
Because of Kirk’s legacy in the Northwest, Hildebrand is in the throes of completing a book that will present, in detail, twenty-four of his most significant projects, identifying and analyzing the features that demonstrate their significance. This book will ensure that Paul Hayden Kirk takes his deserved place in the story of American architecture.
We’ve had the honor of contributing to this project by photographing several of Kirk’s projects in the Seattle area. As we’ve refamiliarized ourselves with the architect, which has deepened our appreciation for the significance of his work, and read Hildebrand’s prose, we couldn’t be more excited to help bring this story to life.
The photos have been taken, the words have been written, and the book has been accepted for publication by a distinguished press. The last hurdle is financing, and today’s post is a call to action. If you appreciate modern design and the legacy of Pacific Northwest regionalism, this is an excellent opportunity to play a role by helping to cement the importance of Kirk’s achievements. Contributions may be made at the project’s Kickstarter campaign. This is going to be a rewarding design book to launch into the world, and we invite you to join us for the ride.
Cheers from team BUILD