Bower, Theodore D.

(1922 - 2009)

Theodore “Ted” Dixon Bower holds the distinction of being one of a handful of Frank Lloyd Wright’s school of architecture (Taliesin) graduates who practiced in Washington State during the 1950s and 1960s. Bower was born on May 29, 1922 in Wyncote, Pennsylvania. After attending Amherst College in Massachusetts for a year (1940-41), he then apprenticed at Taliesin until 1948.

As one of Wright’s long-term apprentices, Bower played a key role in designing and building several homes at Wright’s planned utopian community of Mount Pleasant, in upstate New York. Bower also supervised the construction of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Weltzheimer House (1949) in Oberlin, OH and the Sol Friedman (1948) House in Pleasantville, NY. Upon leaving Taliesin, Bower traveled in Europe and then took a job as a “Jr. Architect” for the government of Punjab, India in 1950. While there he worked with Pierre Jenneret on buildings and plans for the new capitol city at Chandigarh. Then in 1952 he went to work as an architect for the Besant Centenary Trust working on designs for schools throughout India.

In 1954, Bower migrated to the northwest and worked briefly for the architectural firm of Durham, Anderson & Freed; and Fred Bassetti (1955) before opening his own private practice in Seattle. Notable projects include the Harold & Margaret Ogle House (1959) in Vancouver, WA which was featured in a variety of Sunset Magazine articles; the Pearce Apartments (2221 NE 46th Street) in Seattle, a 1963 Seattle AIA honor award winner, and an addition to Western Washington University's physical plant (1971). Bower also designed in partnership with Wendell Lovett, the pedestrian walkway shelters for the Century 21 Exposition.

In 1977, architect Folke Nyberg joined Bower in a short-lived partnership, however any projects by them are unknown. By 1979, Bower was a sole practitioner again. After retiring to Lopez Island, Bower became heavily involved in the Center of Nonviolent Action near Poulsbo. He designed a clubhouse for the organization, called the “Ground Zero House” in 2005.

Bower passed away on Lopez Island on November 27, 2009. Docomomo WEWA is seeking additional information about the life and work of Ted Bower.

-Michael C. Houser

Photo courtesy of Department of Architectural Licensing
Ogle House, Vancouver (1951)<br>Photo courtesy of DAHP.
Weltzheimer House, Oberlin, OH (1949)<br>Photo courtesy of Lifeat55mph.blogspot.
Scheinbaum House, Mount Pleasent, NY (1951)<br>Photo courtesy of www.savewright.com
Glass House, Mount Pleasent, NY (1951)<br>Photo courtesy of www.savewright.com
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Photo courtesy of Department of Architectural Licensing