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The Darth Vader Building

- aer suzuki - Sunday, August 20th, 2006 : goo

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image 14697
Ever since I moved to Seattle, I've called this building The Darth Vader Building. At night it looks glossy, black, and evil. That's really the only connection, no one else knows what I mean when I mention the DVB...

I could tell you what it's really called, but the actual name is really boring compared to mine, trust me. Besides, someone with too much free time could find out easily and post it later.

I will tell you this : It's the tallest in Washington, and by far the most imposing. It's also the tallest by number of floors west of the Mississippi. This is the story I heard : The architect wanted it to have 76 floors in honor of his father (that was his father's age, I think) but the FAA said it was too high, being in the flight path to Seatac, so each floor was shortened by 6" to meet the height requirement while retaining the same number of floors.

A quote about the skyscraper from a former dean of the University of Washington School of , Victor Steinbrueck : "It's terrible. A flat-out symbol of greed and egoism. It's probably the most obscene erection of ego edifice on the Pacific Coast".

I think it looks pretty cool, myself, but I can see what Vic was sayin', and man did he have a way with words. If it is a symbol of greed and egoism, it's not exactly out of place in Seattle.

Both shots straight out of the box.

image 14698

This article has been viewed 22352 times in the last 10 years

joey: 20th Aug 2006 - 04:00 GMT

good story too. they took your picture, when you took theirs.

EvilGentleman: 20th Aug 2006 - 19:32 GMT

That thing must play havoc with the winds at street level, depending on the wind direction.

Catherine Penfold-Waxman: Luke....I am your building.

aer suzuki: 27th Aug 2006 - 01:15 GMT

Ha...thanks for the comments...

Did a little further research on this skyscraper as I just posted some companion shots and found out something I didn't know. From :

"On June 16, 2004, the 9/11 Commission reported that the original plan for the September 11, 2001 attacks called for the hijacking of ten planes, to be crashed into targets including the "tallest buildings in California and Washington State," which would have been the Columbia Center" ...etc.

Told you it's real name was boring, and I ended being the one with too much free time.

Kadesh: 4th Oct 2006 - 01:45 GMT

Yes! My favorite! The source of all evil. Bow down before it's majesty!

Kadesh: 4th Oct 2006 - 01:48 GMT

Also... The coolest place to photo this place, is from the little park in the back. You have to go up the front steps, take a left, and go all the way around. There is a tree back there... It's the greatest place in all of Seattle. I swear!

aer suzuki: 4th Oct 2006 - 01:58 GMT

never knew that, thanks i'll check it out. i also wanna go up to the observation deck someday.

zagg: 4th Oct 2006 - 03:00 GMT

it looks like such a soft and cozy building -- hee hee.

Colby Price: It doesn't say the year of completion.

jay: 29th Jul 2007 - 02:36 GMT

This building is not th building that real Seattlites refer to as the "Darth Vader building" I used to work in the "Darth Vader building" and it is on 4th and blanchard. Also the building is not the tallest building west of the Miss. At one time, one of the old downtown buildings was the tallest west of Miss. Not trying to burst your bubble, but get it right before you post:)

aer suzuki: 29th Jul 2007 - 03:23 GMT

First of all, I would never, ever call myself a "real Seattlite" and I think I made it clear that I'm the only person I know who calls the building the Darth Vader building. As far as I'm concerned I can call it what I want, everyone else can call it what they want, doesn't really matter it's all cool.

Second, I didn't say it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi, I said it was the tallest by number of floors and I was quoting this website:

The tallest building in the United States west of the Mississippi River is, according to, the U.S. Bank tower in Los Angeles, if anyone's curious.

"At one time, one of the old downtown buildings was the tallest west of Miss. "
Yeah, you're probably talking about the Smith tower, which was the tallest building west of the Mississippi until around the mid 1960's. It's 2007 now and the Columbia tower is 937 feet tall (see the above referenced link) while the Smith tower is 522 feet, making the Columbia a tad taller.

I got my information on the Smith tower here:

Please try to accurately read the bubble you're not trying to burst before not trying to burst it. Thanks.

anon ( 31st Jul 2007 - 18:37 GMT

Um, I've got to concurr with the comment above. The "Darth Vader Building" is the one on Fourth and Blanchard. Now, there is a connection. Both buildings were designed by the same architect (Chester L. Lindsey). Look at the building in Belltown on fourth and blanchard and it's easy to see why it's called the DVB--the black trapezoidal shape is reminiscent of Darth's head. The Columbia Tower may look large and imposing, but it's hard to see why anyone would associate its three tall geometric arches with Darth Vader.

aer : 5th Aug 2007 - 00:59 GMT

well, i don't actually think it looks like darth vader, it's more like i picture darth vader living there. you know, darth's corporate headquarters. just having a bit of fun. when i was choosing a title i really didn't expect to get nitpicked about it. i'll have to go check out the 4th and blanchard building, then maybe i'll post pictures of The Real Darth Vader Building, instead of this shameful imposter.

jay: 8th Aug 2007 - 03:43 GMT

Wow, you took that posting a little too seriously. I only lived in Seattle for about 6 yrs. so by no means am I claiming to be a real Seattlite either. Just happened to work in the bldg. that is refered to as "The Darth Vader bldg." Since it is actually pretty well known, at least nationally, I thought you maybe just had them confused. Was not trying to hurt your feelings. Sorry you took my prefacing with the bubble bursting comment as me attempting to disengage from any negative intentions only to attempt to burst said bubble. Shame on me.
I shall order myself 50 lashings and bread and water rations for 30 days. JK!!!

Sincerely, have a nice day.

That's funny: 13th Aug 2007 - 02:59 GMT

Seattlites call the Fourth & Blanchard Building the Darth Vader building. They look alike... Check out the site it mentions the nickname

pib: 13th Dec 2007 - 03:07 GMT

The building in question is The Bank Of America Building... I like that everyone still calles it the Columbia Tower though, fcuk BofA. My high school prom was held there when the building was new. It's a cool building.. But so is the Sedgwick James Building, also known as The Fourth & Blanchard Building... aka the real Darth Vader building, which was named that not just for its looks but because it's across the street from Cinerama, where Star Wars ran longer than in any other theater on earth... I remeber waiting in the blocks long line to see Star Wars, staring at the cool new building across the street. It was also originally supposed to be powered completely by solar panals.. hence the steep pitched roof.. but funding ran dry and the solar panels were never installed... because the pitch was so steep when it rained it dumped water onto the buildings around it which lead to law suits... that's all I know about it.

Franny Wentzel: 7th Jan 2009 - 07:03 GMT

I find your lack of architectural appreciation disturbing!

zagg: 7th Jan 2009 - 20:53 GMT

CityNoisers have a tendency to dislike shiney sharp jagged boxes. Sometimes they're acceptable if they have an colour running through them (like that horrible apartment building thing that I said was fugly but others seemed to like it...)

Buildinglvr: 22nd Apr 2009 - 20:09 GMT

I love buildings, especially the tall ones, even more so if it's an apartment building because I like the style, Is this an apartment building? =) Good pic btw

Buildinglvr: 22nd Apr 2009 - 20:12 GMT

Oh yeh, forgot to mention, yes your right it does look evil and dark, but yet at the same time, warm and welcoming. Maybe cus its shiney, everybody likes shiney XD. (Be careful naming buildings, someone might actually steal your idea and name a building the dark vader building and claim it their idea >.>) not me though, I already have a name for my future apartment building, (If i ever get one =() yes its a funny dream laugh but someday i will have my own apartment company T.T

anon ( 19th May 2009 - 08:57 GMT

i love the crap out of the columbia tower, but when i saw the title of this thread I immediately thought of the sedgwick building. (and i am definitely a seattlite) I never even thought that the columbia would be thought of as a darth vader building, i think of it more as a futuristic cyber building of some really neat high tech company.

aer: 4th Dec 2009 - 10:19 GMT

yeah i like it too, i think it's a great design, especially the curve. when i posted this i had no idea that ANY building in seattle was nicknamed the darth vader building, so i thought it was safe to dub it with my own nickname. man, was i wrong...

p.s. it's way too late to apologize to jay for jumping all over his post, but i apologize anyway. i get cranky sometimes. and thanks to all who just enjoyed the photo.

anon ( 11th Mar 2010 - 19:31 GMT

People in Seattle call them both the Darth Vader building. If you're younger, you're more likely to think of this one as the Darth Vader building.

anon ( 25th Jun 2011 - 07:02 GMT

This isn't the 'Darth Vader' building. This is the Columbia Center. The 'Darth Vader' building is on 4th and Blanchard.

anon ( 9th Jan 2012 - 05:28 GMT

Oh, That interesting to know about this building. I always wanted to know about it. Do anyone know about what is going on this building?

Dean: 9th Apr 2015 - 09:54 GMT

I used to work in Columbia Center. It replaced a small office building and a parking garage. Part of the old office building is still in place. Great memories of working there.

Dean: 9th Apr 2015 - 09:59 GMT

...btw, way back around 2006 or 2007, Colby Price asked about when it was completed. That would be 1985, IIRC.

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