How one especially creative woman inspired ‘The Creators,’ and so much more.
WE OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED our newest NW Living subseries, The Creators, on April 1, but in fact (and in all honesty), Audrey Van Horne, licensed architect No. 938 in the state of Washington, is the original inspiration for this deeper dive into influential architectural artistry and the talented people behind it.
The typical NW Living feature focuses on just one distinctly designed home, but there is so much more to Van Horne’s story, and her significant legacy, than the Portage Bay-area home she and her architect husband, John, distinctly designed for their family in the 1950s.
In mid-April, Van Horne turned 94. She has compiled an incredible 50-plus-year portfolio of enduring modern architecture. She is a spirited and engaged community builder. She is a longtime mentor and role model: to other architects; to female business owners; to mothers; to those who’ve worked with her or, possibly, merely bumped into her.
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I first bumped into her quite purposefully, after Seattle architect/Van Horne “groupie” Curtis McGuire (who appeared in NW Living last October) wrote to ask: “Do you know Audrey?” Then he said: “Among her many accomplishments, she has been instrumental in saving and restoring the Conservatory at Volunteer Park. Her house is really cool, as is she.”
By early November, I was interviewing Van Horne over coffee and pastries in the living room of her really cool Portage Bay-area home. She is gracious and genuine. Wise and seriously laugh-out-loud witty. Optimistic and outgoing. We met to talk again, and again, because this is not the story of just one home — and because Van Horne is an awesome storyteller.
This is the story of inspired architecture and an inspirational life. More people should know Audrey.