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Monday, September 7, 1998 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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George Bartholick, 77; Architect Helped Restore Pike Place Market

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

Restoring Seattle's Pike Place Market in the 1970s was a challenge for George Bartholick, the project's lead architect, and his co-workers.

There were rotted posts, hidden rooms, dead rats and floors angled every which way as they dropped six stories to Western Avenue. Then there were endless meetings with private and public groups to decide what to prioritize in renovating about 300,000 square feet.

Mr. Bartholick later told the press, "There wasn't a single accurate drawing to go on, so for nearly a year we sent crews in to measure, do structural analysis and poke around in places people didn't know existed. . . . I hired Vic Steinbrueck as a consultant. (He) did what we called a `historical-element inventory.' "

Steinbrueck in 1971 persuaded the public to pass a ballot measure to save the Market from destruction.

When work started, Mr. Bartholick labored all night, slept until noon, ate breakfast and reappeared at 1 p.m., friends say.

His work earned a 1985 American Institute of Architects award. Judges said he resisted "the temptation to transform the eclectic jumble of buildings into a cute and contrived urban playground."

In 1995 Mr. Bartholick was elected to the AIA College of Fellows.

He died last Monday (Aug. 31) of cancer. He was 77.

"He was one of the characters of Seattle, a living legend," said fellow architect Jim Leong. "He could be a cantankerous reprobate on one hand, and a gentle, guiding soul on the other. He definitely designed some marvelous buildings."

A Bellingham native, Mr. Bartholick earned a degree in architecture at the University of Oregon in 1950.

He was a navigator on Army bombers in Europe during World War II and always regretted taking part in the bombing of Dresden, Germany, known for its fine architecture.

After the war he lived in Europe and New York City, writing stories and designing buildings.

Mr. Bartholick later returned to the Northwest and taught architecture at the University of Oregon and University of British Columbia.

He founded his architectural and planning firm in Bellingham in 1962. He was a campus planner for Western Washington University. His designs drew on the Scandinavian tradition he had observed in Europe.

Mr. Bartholick opened a Seattle office in the early 1970s. His master plan for Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo laid the basis for a display of animals in their natural environment and became a model for zoo planners.

His Market project lasted from 1974 to 1980.

He considered the Market restoration the happiest time of his life, for the challenge and for the chance to work with other top architects.

"It was terribly exciting, those times," Mr. Bartholick told Seattle Times columnist Emmett Watson in 1991. "It was like being a doctor and doing tests on a patient, probing inside the Market to see how things worked."

Survivors include his sons Jon Bartholick and Robin Bartholick, both of Seattle; his daughter, Andrea Bartholick Pace of Monterey, Calif.; and one grandchild.

A celebration will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 25 under the Market clock. Remembrances may go to the Market Foundation, 85 Pike St., Room 500, Seattle, WA 98101.

Carole Beers' phone message number is 206-464-2391. Her e-mail address is: cbeers@seattletimes.com

Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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