Threatened: Seattle Modern House
By Margaret Foster | Online Only | Mar. 26, 2010
A Seattle-area house designed by Paul Thiry, the father of Northwest Modernism, could be demolished this year if a plan to move the 1962 structure falls through.
"Chances are still fairly good that we will have a recipient for the house, but it's still unknown because of the timing being so short," says Jeff McCord, Seattle representative for Everett-based Nickel Bros. House Moving, who has been searching for a new owner for the Brauner House for the past six months.
The current owners, who live next door and could not be reached for comment, have allowed McCord extra time to find a buyer.
They are offering to sell the 2,830-square-foot house for $1. Relocation will cost $240,000, McCord says.
Thiry (1904-1993) designed the two-story, poured concrete structure, located in Normandy Park, Wash., for Mr. and Mrs. Kalman Brauner. It was completed at the height of the architect's career, the same year Thiry served as master planner and architect for the Seattle World's Fair.
"The house is a unique design due to its sculptural form. Its setting is absolutely amazing—right on the water," says Eugenia Woo, a member of the board of directors of Docomomo-WEWA, the modern architecture nonprofit that organized a tour of the Brauner House last November.
The city of Normandy Park does not have a preservation ordinance or landmark registry, Woo says, so the house is unprotected.
"It's really [Jeff McCord's] passion for this house that has kept it from being demolished," Woo said in an e-mail.
Nickel Bros. House Moving, founded 54 years ago, moves about 300 houses every year. Bungalows and other Craftsman-style houses are popular, McCord says. "Buying a moved house is generally a little more affordable than building a new one."
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