Pacific Coast Architecture Database (PCAD)

Architects

Pries, Lionel

ID: 1835
Full Name: Lionel Henry Pries
Occupation: Architect
Gender: M
Nationality: US
Birth Date: 1897-06-02
Death Date: 1968-04-07
Family: Spouse: Lionel Pries was gay, and due to social taboos of his time, had to remain closed about his personal life. While he had a distinguished teaching career for 30 years at the University of Washington, few, if any, students knew his secret. Even students, like Keith Kolb (b. 1922), who lived in Pries's house during his UW years and remained good friends with him after college, were unaware. The revelation of his homosexuality in 1958 led to his ouster from his teaching position; the removal was mysterious to many, and for many former colleagues it led to the loss of personal contact with him.
Relocation: Born in San Francisco, CA and raised in Oakland, CA; his father worked at Gump's, the purveyor of fine interior furnishings to San Francisco's upper class; here, as a boy, according to Pries's biographer, Jeffrey Ochsner, is where he gained an appreciation for Asian artifacts.
Biographical Information: Education: B.Arch., University of California, Berkeley (UCB), Berkeley, CA, 1920; M.Arch., University of Pennsylvania (Penn), Philadelphia, PA, 1921; at Penn, Pries studied with the leading Beaux-Arts academician of this time in the U.S., Paul Cret; Pries served as Cret's graduate assistant at the Philadelphia T-Square Atelier in 1921-1922;
Work History: Draftsman, Charles Kaiser Sumner, Architect, San Francisco, CA, c. 1920, 1925; Draftsman, John Galen Howard, Architect, Berkeley, CA, 1920; Draftsman, DeArmond, Ashmead and Bicklet, Architects, Philadelphia, PA, 1921; Draftsman, Office of the City Architect, John P.B. Sinkler, Philadelphia, PA, 1921-1922; Head Draftsman, Edgar V. Seeler, Architect, Philadelphia, PA, 1922; Draftsman, [George] Kelham and [William G.] Merchant, Associated Architects, San Francisco, CA, c. 1923-1925; Principal, Lionel Pries, Architect, San Francisco, CA, 1923-1925; Pries worked on a handful of his own projects in San Francisco. Supervising Architect, Bothin Helping Fund, Santa Barbara, CA, 1925; Principal, Lionel Pries, Architect, Santa Barbara, CA, 1925-1926; he designed approximately 10-12 buildings in Santa Barbara before moving back to San Francisco, from 1926-1928; during this two year span in San Francisco, he produced designs for about 20 buildings. Partner, Bain and Pries, Architects, Seattle, WA, 1928-1932; Architect, Lionel Pries, Architect, Seattle, WA, 1932-1942, 1960-1968; Draftsman, Durham, Anderson and Freed, Architects, Seattle, WA, 1958-1959; Draftsman, John Graham and Company, Seattle, WA, 1959-1963.
Teaching: Participated in the Camouflage School, Office of Civilian Defense, Seattle, WA, 1942; Professor of Architecture, Department of Architecture, University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Seattle, WA, 1928-1958. For 30 years, Pries taught upper level design studio courses in the Department of Architecture. For many of those, he co-taught studios with Lance Gowen (1894-1958), another long-time faculty member, son of the legendary UW Professor of Oriental Languages, Herbert Gowen (1864-1960). Pries was an extraordinarily gifted draftsman, particularly adept at the art of watercolor sketching. He was a loyal to the Beaux-Arts educational method, a fact that put him at odds with younger instructors in the UW Department of Architecture after World War II. Pries emphasized knowledge of Classical and Gothic sources of inspiration, but did not rule out any style for use if it was appropriate to the task at hand. He broadened the cultural awareness of generations of UW students, inviting them to his home where he shared books, prints and music. Pries had an open mind, and had a deep affection for non-Western arts, particularly those of Asia and Mexico. His enthusiasm for various forms of Asian design validated study of this area for his students, and made Asian influence in their Puget Sound work more acceptable.
Miscellaneous: His University of California, Berkeley (UCB), nickname was "Spike." SSN: 538-22-2678.
Countries: United States
Locations: Architect's Birth:
San Francisco, CA
USA
Architect's Death:
Seattle, WA
USA

Portrait of Lionel Pries, c. 1955; from DOCOMOMO WeWA