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The Loveless Building: A Brief History

First of all, could there be a more ironic name for this beautiful structure? Today I went on a little adventure (physically and electronically) to find out more about this wonderful piece of Capitol Hill history.

The mastermind behind the building was Arthur L. Loveless (1873-1971). Raised in New York, Loveless studied architecture at Columbia University before dropping out and moving to Seattle in 1907. He worked with a number of important architects and soon gained fame for his distinct Tudor Revivalist style. Through the 1920’s Loveless worked on many prominent residences throughout the Puget Sound region. He also designed more Greek Row houses at the UW than any other architect, including Zeta Psi Fraternity, Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, and Delta Gamma Sorority. [1]

But of course, his most famous work, constructed in 1930, was the Loveless building. The buildings was originally known as the Studio Building, as it was a place for Seattle artists to live and work. Notable artists who rented the building include the photographers Ella E. McBride and Myra Albert Wiggins, as well as Arthur Loveless himself.[2] In subsequent years the artist’s studios were turned into apartments, and you can currently get a hold of a 1-bedroom (with working fireplace) for about $1500 a month[3]. Another of the buildings original tenants was the Russian Samovar, which commissioned the brilliant muralist Vladimir Shkurkin (who had previously painted the inside of the Seattle Civic Auditorium) to decorate the walls.  Shkurkin’s murals depict a story of a swan-turned-princess, by Alexander Pushkin, and can still be viewed at Philippe Thomelin’s Olivar.  In 1961 the Loveless building received recognition from the American Institute of Architects as an outstanding structure.


View of the Courtyard


More pictures of the Studio (Loveless) Building and other Loveless designed buildings here.



[1] Information on Loveless’ life from the DON.

[2] Cited near the bottom of this article under “Depression Years”.

[3] For more information about renting call: 206.325.3898


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7 thoughts on “The Loveless Building: A Brief History

  1. I wonder if the frats/sororities commissioned him to build their lodges/breeding grounds, or if they were originally designed for other purposes.

    Oh shit, I guess my anti-Greek bias is showing.

    Me, I was a member of Gamma-Delta-Iota, a “fraternity/sorority” at the University of Oregon that was open to anyone, where GDI stood for God Damn Independent.

    Back on topic, I do love this building, and it’s cool to hear about the architect. Thanks!

  2. I was under the impression that there was a vast amount of paranormal activity inside the Loveless bdlg. I believe the Ghost Museum across the street knows about it… Thanks for the history lesson.

  3. Just hosted a small dinner party in the restaurant Olivar and although I had initial reservations (no pun intended) about the small space and odd menu, it ended up to be an incredible experience. Am certain the jaw-dropping murals contributed to the memorable evening.