Seattle's Rainier Tower For Architectural Delight

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Rainier Tower Fifth and University Seattle


Created by renowned architect Minoru Yamasaki, who also designed the New York World Trade Center buildings that were destroyed on September 11th, 2001, this colossal structure has the unique distinction of balancing atop an eleven story pedestal. 

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Built in 1977, this relatively modern structure gives one the feel of an upside-down pyramid reaching to the clouds as you gaze thirty one stories above it's base at the peculiar lines of this skyscraper.


Although the shape of this structure would leave some to wonder if it is indeed sturdy, the pedestrian friendly design has been proven to be extremely sound against earthquake and high wind.


Housing twenty nine floors of traditional office space and three levels of opulent retail space known as Rainier Square, Rainier Tower is a unique specimen of architectural delight no matter where you stand.


Another reason to love Living in Seattle!


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Comments (9)


Hi Judi~

This is an amazing architectural feat...but...(blush) I keep wondering if it is earthquake proof...even though it has a proven track record, as you note...

Sep 20, 2011 06:43 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Amazing architecture, and eathquake proofing is an interesting subject.  We were in an earthquake proof building in Los Angeles, when the last huge one hit, and there was damage, however, they were able to reopen the office building the next day so that we could check out our office, and take care of all the cracks and stuff within a week.  A

Sep 20, 2011 06:50 AM
Judi Boad

Hi janeAnne and Alexandra~

According to the architectural information provided by Unico Properties in Seattle, three separate studies were done on the architectural design provided by Minoru Yamasaki before ground breaking on this building.

It was actually found to be  one of the safest designs in Seattle, eliminating the "canyon effect" of strong winds and able to withstand severe earthquake trauma.

It is quite a sight!...

Best regards,

Sep 20, 2011 07:42 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

I've seen it and always get a kick out of's definitely a conversation piece. Who'd a thunk it could withstand the elements that well - perhaps the architect? :)

Sep 20, 2011 08:11 AM
Malcolm Johnston
Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario - Trenton, ON
Trenton Real Estate

Judi, that definitely is an eye opening building, i have never seen one like that before. It must have been the talk of the town when it was first built.

Sep 20, 2011 11:25 AM
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Judi, The architect was not constrained by the typical building designs of the time. But the owner of the building was a risk taker too. Some designs can be so advanced as to cause potential buyers or leasers to avoid.

Sep 20, 2011 03:58 PM
Janna Scharf
Keller Williams Realty Coeur d'Alene - Coeur d'Alene, ID
Coeur d'Alene Idaho Real Estate Expert

Thanks for that little history lesson.  I will have to keep my eye out for tht upside down pyramid next time I visit Seattle!

Sep 20, 2011 05:00 PM
Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta

Judi, there is a building similar to this in Brampton, abeit not nearly as tall... I am always fascinated by it when I drive by...

Sep 21, 2011 01:40 PM
Liz Flint
Century 21 Hardee-Team Realty - Houston, TX
Houston\Tomball Realtor (832)816-8066

Hi Judi, I don't remember seeing that building when I was in Seattle.  Very interesting.  Almost reminds me of a pencil.

Sep 22, 2011 07:21 AM