Moldstad, Harold A. Jr.

(1934 - 2012)

Born on July 2, 1934 in Mount Vernon, Washington, Harold “Hal” Alphonse Jr. Molstad graduated from the University of Washington school of architecture in 1957. Upon graduation he entered the U.S. Air Force, engineering division (1957-1960 & 1964-1968, reserves, stationed in Amarillo, Texas) rising to the level of Captain. There he served as head designer and base master planner. Upon his discharge he worked for a short time with Amarillo architect, John P. Work and the Arnboltz Coffee Co. before moving to Mount Vernon were he took a job with architect Henry Dien. Moldstad moved to Bainbridge Island in 1962, and spent a year gaining additional experience and connections by working with architects William Bain and Harrison Overturf on a variety of projects. In 1967 Molstad decided to start his own firm.

In spite of living and practicing on Bainbridge Island, and not being part of the Seattle modernists closely associated with the University of Washington, Moldstad soon developed a reputation for his well-executed and thoughtful residential designs. Over the years he maintained a thriving practice with many of his clients coming from influential Seattle families who built second homes on Bainbridge Island, the Hood Canal, or San Juan Islands.

Moldstad developed his version of modernist regional architecture, which incorporated Asian influences, local materials, sweeping roofs that created volumetric interior spaces, and unusually strong relationships between the plan and the exterior landscape. He excelled at siting his residences and emphasized horizontal rooflines that respected the landscape yet explode in interlocking volumes once inside the structure. Moldstad established a trademark set of interior and exterior details that were beautifully conceived and typically well crafted.

Notable residential projects include the Harold Runstad House (1969), the Fred Smith House (1969), and the John P. Glase House (1970), all on Bainbridge Island; the Robert E. Wilcox House (1970) in Indianola; the Vernon L. Parrington House (1970) in Kingston; the Webster House “Sunnygate Farm” (1973); the Christofferson House (1973); the Moldstad House “Sunridge Farm” (1973), and the Bill Gates Compound (1986-90), all on Hood Canal; and the Paul Allen Compound (1992-2000) on Lopez Island.

Although primarily a residential architect, Moldstad’s commercial projects have the same characteristics and intimate scale of his residential projects.
After twenty years on Bainbridge Island, Moldstad moved to the Wenatchee area. While there, he transitioned from doing some of his largest commercial architectural projects to reducing his architectural practice to concentrate on painting where he became an award-winning artist. His work depicting scenes from the northwest in carefully detailed representations of boats, buildings, landscapes, and water scenes were rendered in oil, charcoal, and watercolor.

Hal Moldstad passed away in Wenatchee on June 5, 2012.

- James McNett

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