Conversation with Tyler Sprague
Join local author and University of Washington professor Tyler Sprague on Feb. 23, at 3:00pm to celebrate his new book Sculpture on a Grand Scale: The Thin Shell Modernism of Jack Christiansen.
The Kingdome, John ("Jack") Christiansen's best-known work, was the largest freestanding concrete dome in the world. Built amid public controversy, the multipurpose arena was designed to stand for a thousand years but was demolished in a great cloud of dust after less than a quarter century.
Many know the fate of Seattle's iconic dome, but fewer are familiar with its innovative structural engineer, Jack Christensen (1927-2017), and his significant contribution to Pacific Northwest and modernist architecture. Tyler Sprague places Christiansen within a global cohort of thin shell engineer-designers, exploring the use of a remarkable structural medium known for its minimal use of material, architectually expressive forms, and long-span capability. Examining Christiansen's creative design and engineering work, Sprague, who interviewed Christiansen extensively, illuminates his legacy of graceful, distinctive concrete architectural forms, highlighting their lasting imprint on the region's built environment.
Tyler S. Sprague is assistant professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Washington and serves on the boards of the Construction History Society of America and the Western Washington chapter of Docomomo.