Hastings, L. Jane
Architect L. Jane Hastings began her career studies in the mid-1940s and became one of the earliest women to be licensed as an architect in the state. She went on to become the principal of Washington’s oldest women-owned architecture firm in 1959 and was an influential member of the International Union of Women Architects (UIFA) in its formative years. In 1975, Hastings became the first woman president of the Seattle Chapter of the AIA, and in 1992 became the first woman Chancellor of the AIA’s prestigious national honorary society, the College of Fellows.
Hastings was born in Seattle on March 3, 1928 and attended schools in West Seattle. At an early age she knew she wanted to become an architect and entered the University of Washington School of Architecture program in 1946. Despite being the only female in her University of Washington architecture class of 200, she excelled in her studies graduating with honors in 1952 and receiving the Alpha Rho Chi Medal leadership/service award. The next year she acquired her architectural license and continued working at the Boeing Airplane Co. as a draftswoman in the plant facilities division. Wanting to see the world, Hastings then took a civilian job with the U.S. Army in Germany, serving as Special Services Recreation Director (1954 – 1956).
When Hastings returned to Seattle, she took a position with architect Robert McDaniel (1957 – 1958). Other stops included working for Leo A. Daly Architects & Engineers, and for architect James Chiarelli, before she opened her own independent practice in 1959 while working part-time for the firm of Tucker & Shields.
For a time, Hastings and her growing firm shared office space with architect Arne Bystrom, but her firm found its own home in the mid-1970s, operating under the name, The Hastings Group. Over the years, Hastings produced over 500 residential projects as well as churches, small commercial projects, university buildings, airport structures, and bridge/tunnel facilities.
Between the years 1962 to 1984 the Seattle Times featured ten Hastings-designed residences as “Homes of the Month,” and a total of 30 appeared in the Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer pictorial sections from 1963 to 1996. In 1971, the Karrow House received a National AIA Honor Award in conjunction with House & Home magazine. Her own home in the Laurelhurst Neighborhood received a Seattle AIA Honor Award in 1977. Notable residential projects include the Kincade House on Vashon Island (1962), the Mitchell House near Issaquah (1965), the David Quam House (1968 Seattle Times Homes-of-the-Year) in Seattle, Elliott Boisen Residence (1969) in Edmonds, C. Crawford Ski Cabin (1969) in Alpental, the A. Moody House (1969) in Issaquah, the Schroeder House (1969) in Seattle, and Kenneth Stevens House (1973) in Seattle. Many of her projects were also remodels and additions to existing dwellings.
In 1983 she teamed up with structural engineer Victor O. Gray, landscape architect Richard Haag, and sculptor George Tsutakawa to design the Flaming Geyser Bridge for the King County Department of Public Works. The project was the recipient of several national awards in concrete construction and bridge design and was built in 1991.
In addition to her architectural practice, Hastings taught part-time at Seattle Community College (1969 – 1980) and lectured in the design studios at the University of Washington. She also served on the Council of Design Professionals in Seattle, on the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board (1980 – 1983), on the Design and Construction Review Board of the Seattle School District, and was a charter member of Seattle City Club (1981 – 1986).
Hastings was elected to the AIA College of Fellows in 1984. She retired in 2002 and today resides in Seattle. In her personal life, Hastings was married to University of Washington Architecture Professor Norman J. Johnson from 1969 until his death in 2015.
– Michael C Houser