School Buildings at Landmarks Board

At the March 20, 2013 Landmarks Board meeting the ten board members voted unanimously that Pinehurst School at 11530 12th Ave NE is NOT worthy of preservation.  This means that the School District could potentially tear down the present Pinehurst building to rebuild or reuse the site in another way.

Larry Johnson, architect, prepares to make a presentation at Landmarks Board.

The presentation about Pinehurst School was made by architect and historian Larry Johnson of The Johnson Partnership Architects, on behalf of Seattle Public Schools.  Mr. Johnson made a complete study of the history of the school, its surrounding neighborhood, and the architectural firm which designed the present building.  The nomination report can be read under “Current Nominations” on the Dept. of Neighborhoods Historic Preservation page.  The goal of the study was to find whether the school building met any of the six criteria for historic preservation, including outstanding design, association with a historic event, or embodiment of distinctive characteristics of an architectural style.

In 1950 the architectural firm of Mallis, DeHart & Hopkins designed the Pinehurst School and that same year they also designed Nathan Eckstein Junior High School at 3003 NE 75th Street.  Eckstein (now a middle school) has already been “landmarked” because it was voted by Landmarks Board to be an outstanding work of Mallis, DeHart & Hopkins and a very distinctive work in the International Style of architecture.  Eckstein’s curving glass front conveys International Style in its emphasis upon the beauty of the materials themselves, without reliance upon decorative trim.

Eckstein Middle School has already been designated as a historic landmark.

One of the reasons why Pinehurst School did not win landmark status is that the building’s design is not unified, with the plan made even more confusing in later years by several badly-placed additions.  The Pinehurst building does not have any recognizable form or style.  The failure of Pinehurst School to achieve landmark status may mean that a new school might be built in its place.  I (Valarie) attempted to ask a school district official who was present at today’s meeting, whether the Thornton Creek School at Decatur (in Wedgwood) might also be under consideration for tear-down and replacement.  The official replied, “I can’t answer that question because I am not a program manager.”  Stay tuned for reports on Wedgwood-area schools as information becomes available.

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