Shay, Albin A.

(1899 - 1984)

Albin Aurelius Shay was born February 17, 1899, in Columbus, Ohio and moved to the Seattle area when he was eleven. He received his formal architectural education at the University of Washington and the University of Pennsylvania where he received his bachelor’s degree in architecture in 1922. Upon graduation, Shay went to work for the noted New York firm of Warren & Wetmore, then for the firm of George B. Post & Sons. In 1924 Shay returned to Seattle and began working for the firm of Bebb & Gould. In 1927, Shay opened his own independent practice. Known projects include a refreshment stand and residence for Seward Park (1927); and "The Friendly House" Model Home (1931)

In 1935, Shay formed a partnership with fellow architect Paul Thiry. Together they began designing some of the earliest works in the modern vein in Washington state. Among their projects were the Percival Nichols House (1936) and the Frank Barrett House (1937). At the time, the dwellings were a radical advancement for architecture in the Northwest.

During the World War II, Shay, like many architects at the time, completed a 15-week course in the art of camouflage. During the war years he reportedly designed and supervised the building of many federal housing projects in and around the Puget Sound area.

Shay’s work after the war as a sole practitioner is not very well known. Structures include a warehouse building for Van Walters & Rogers Inc. (1949) in Portland; the Nat Rogers House (1950); Otteson House (c. 1953); Washington Chocolate Factory (1953); and the Scientific Supplies Company (1954) all in Seattle.

Shay retired in 1964 and passed away in Seattle on October 18, 1984 at the age of 85. Docomomo WEWA is seeking additional information about the work of Albin A. Shay.

- Michael C. Houser

Photo courtesy of DAHP.
Barrett House, Seattle (1937) <br>Photo courtesy of UW Special Collections
Nichols House, Seattle (1936) <br>Photo courtesy of UW Special Collections
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Photo courtesy of DAHP.