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Exchange building-edit.jpg


Year Built: 1931 


Artist Name: John Graham & Associates - Architect

Fun Fact: The stone on the exterior of the building is 3.5 billion years old.

Medium: Concrete, Metal, Stone  

Neighborhood: Downtown 

Address: 821 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

The Exchange Building, located in the heart of the business district, was intended to be used for the Seattle Stock Exchange. The building was later transformed into office space following the Stock Market Crash and the Great Depression. The Exchange Building was designed by John Graham & Associates and at the time it was completed, was the second tallest building in the United States that was reinforced by concrete. The building is characterized by it's classical elements and Art Deco style. The stone found on the exterior of the building, called Morton gneiss and mined in Morton, Minnesota, was referred to by local geologist David B. Williams as the "oldest stone you'll ever see." 



"The beautifully preserved Art Deco lobby of the Exchange Building has a little known history that surrounds it's visitors.  Specifically, the black Portero marble featured on the lobby walls from floor to ceiling.  This Italian stone was quarried Southwest of La Spezia, on the promontory of Portovenere, Palmaria and the Tino Islands.  Just a short distance from the Tuscan Carrara quarries.  In Roman times, Protero marble was widely used  in the city of Luni. During the Middle Ages, its use was commonly used in Genoa.  And throughout the XVII century, it became increasingly sought after for religious buildings across Italy.  Examples of churches that feature interiors with Portoro marble include San Pietro, San Paolo, and San Giovanni. 


My first experience in the Exchange building was nothing less than inspiring and always one of my favorite landmark buildings in downtown Seattle.  It's humbling to think of the human ingenuity required to extract and transport such massive pieces of stone from Italy to Seattle in the 1930's."


NOTE: The Exchange Building is currently under construction, with limited access to the surrounding grounds. Please explore this landmark "virtually" for now, and don't forget to check it out in person once construction has completed. 

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