Theodore D. Bower

Bower, Theodore D.

(1922 – 2009)

Theodore “Ted” Dixon Bower holds the distinction of being one of a few graduates of Frank Lloyd Wright’s school of architecture (Taliesin) 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 (1940-1941), he then apprenticed at Taliesin where he stayed until 1948.

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

In 1954, Bower left India and traveled thru Japan. He migrated to the northwest and worked briefly for the Seattle architectural firms of Durham, Anderson & Freed; and Fred Bassetti (1955) before opening his own practice. His notable projects include the Harold & Margaret Ogle House (1959) in Vancouver, Washington, which was featured in a variety of articles in Sunset magazine; the Pearce Apartments (2221 NE 46th Street) in Seattle (1962), which won Seattle AIA honor award in 1963; a remodel of the historic 1909 Seattle Fire Station No. 23 (1970); and an addition to Western Washington University’s physical plant (1971). Bower also designed the pedestrian walkway shelters for the Century 21 Exposition in partnership with architect Wendell Lovett.

Architect Folke Nyberg joined Bower in a short-lived partnership in 1977, however projects by them are unknown. By 1979, Bower was a sole practitioner again. After retiring to Lopez Island, he became heavily involved in the Center of Nonviolent Action near Poulsbo. In 2005 he designed a clubhouse for the organization, called the “Ground Zero House.” Bower died at the age of 87 on Lopez Island on November 27, 2009.

– Michael C Houser

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