Focus on Architects – Paul Kirk

Paul Kirk (November 18, 1914-May 22, 1995). Kirk studied architecture at the University of Washington, receiving his degree in 1937. Kirk’s architecture was inspired by regional culture, and, as a result, many of his models incorporated elements such as rough-cut stone, wood, and glass. These designs classified his works as regionally-appropriate modern architecture of the Northwest Pacific. After World War II, Kirk teamed up with James J. Chiarelli—a partnership that produced an assortment of Modernist designs.  Amongst their productions is the Lakewood Community Church (Depicted Below):

After about 5-6 years of partnership, Kirk went to solo route and designed a series of single-family residence homes. Many of these homes featured a flat-top design, bands of windows, and simple cubic shapes.

However, after a few short years, Kirk abandoned the idea of the International style (such as that of the one sported above) in favor of complex structural detail and exposed layers of wood framing. Among such works is Seattle’s University Unitarian Church:

Designs such as these won Kirk a large amount of publicity; his works were published in over sixty publications between the years of 1945 and 1970. His legacy is not only marked by his glorious work, but also by his numerous architectural accomplishments; “He was appointed to the City of Seattle Housing Board; served as president of the Seattle Art Museum’s Contemporary Arts Council; served as president of the AIA; and was a trustee on the boards of the Arboretum Foundation and the Bloedel Reserve.  With architect John Morse, he authored a plan to purchase and rehabilitate buildings in the Pike Place Market as a City facility in 1969, a step that led to the Market’s eventual preservation.  Paul Hayden Kirk retired from practice and transferred his firm to partner David McKinley in 1979.  He passed away in Kirkland on May 22, 1995.” (

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