Though the Emerald City has always respected its history, it’s still a city constantly moving forward, nodding gratefully to its heritage with its eyes firmly fixed on the future. It is no surprise, then, to find progressive aspects in the city’s buildings, from their green practices to their very design.
Indeed, Seattle’s most iconic building, the Space Needle, was built for the 1962 World Fair to represent the future of science and technology. Since then, the 1960s brought forth the emerging postmodern architectural style. Flourishing in the ’80s and ’90s, postmodernism began to divide around Y2K into sub-styles such as deconstructivism.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Chasing after the Columbia Center, 1201 3rd Avenue became the city’s second tallest building when erected between 1986 and 1988. The Brooklyn Building, completed almost 100 years prior in 1890 in the current location of the future skyscraper, boasted the City of Seattle Historic Landmark Status. However, this status technically only applied to the building’s north and west walls. With the designers taking advantage of this technicality, the rest of it was gutted to make way for what would become Seattle’s first postmodern high-rise building. The new building not only included two of the Brooklyn Building’s original walls but also incorporated the old building’s style into the new design. Rising in sheet metal, the glass façade is sleek in contrast to its more classical elements.
Though the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) has been around since 1933, it wasn’t always in its current building. With the museum in need of a new home, Robert Venturi was given the task of designing a new structure, which is subtly colorful on the outside with a limestone façade, pink granite, and red sandstone. The terra cotta, which connects the new building, built in 1991, to its older neighbors, clashes against the more modern metal and glass protruding from the top. The context of the structure was vastly considered in its design, from the grand staircase that connects the entrance from the bottom of the hill to the entrance at the top, while still displaying art along the way, to the galleries that vary in design—just like the art exhibited within.
From the private sector, postmodern architecture found its way into the public sector. Seattle’s City Hall, built in 2003, was designed to illustrate the government’s transparency with an open lobby layout while embracing the sleek glass-and-steel style in contrast with terraced stone forms. The building, with a blue glass bridge connecting the council chamber and offices, brought to the forefront an increasing amount of asymmetry.
The postmodern derivative of deconstructivism (which seems like an ironic term for designing a building) emerged in structures such as the Museum of Pop Culture, or MoPOP (formerly the Experience Music Project, or EMP), and Seattle’s Central Library.
MoPOP, built in 2000, is a complex barrage of asymmetry and color. Designed in the context of music, Frank Gehry took inspiration from slices of electric guitars. The painted aluminum shingles and shaped stainless steel that change colors in various light conditions are said to represent the constant evolution of culture.
The complexly asymmetrical and oblique design of the Seattle Central Library appears chaotic; however, in reality, the building was designed around its intended function—instead of its function being fit to the building’s design. The glass exterior was intentionally chosen to increase natural light in south-facing rooms and, for example, decrease glare in the north-facing reading room. A Books Spiral makes up floors six through nine, facilitating the Dewey Decimal system in the non-fiction section of the library with a constantly evolving ribbon of gradually increasing ramps; the entire section is united, instead of being broken up by stairs or separate sections.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.