Harold A. Molstad Jr.

Moldstad, Harold A. Jr.

(1934 – 2013)

Born on July 2, 1934 in Mount Vernon, Washington, Harold “Hal” Alphonse Molstad, Jr. graduated from Mount Vernon High School in 1952, where he was an outstanding football and tennis player. His formal architectural education was received at the University of Washington where he graduated in 1957. Upon graduation, he entered the U.S. Air Force, engineering division reserves stationed in Amarillo, Texas (1957-1960 & 1964-1968), 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 then for the Arnboltz Coffee Co. before moving back to Mount Vernon, where he took a job with architect Henry Klein. Further experience was garnered working with William Bain and Harrison Overturf.

After moving to Bainbridge Island in 1962, he initially worked for a small firm in Bremerton and then decided to open up his own firm in 1967.  Soon he 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 own version of modernist regional architecture, which often 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 respect the landscape yet explode in interlocking volumes once inside the structure. Over the course of his career, he 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), and James H. Todd House (1971) all on Bainbridge Island. Off the island Moldstad’s projects include 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; the Philip Gallahers House (1976) in the Laurelhurst neighborhood of Seattle, and the Paul Allen Compound (1992-2000) on Lopez Island.

After twenty years on Bainbridge Island, Moldstad decided to move to East Wenatchee. While there, he transitioned from doing some of his largest commercial projects to reducing his architectural practice. After retirement he concentrated on painting and 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.

Moldstad passed away in Wenatchee on June 5, 2013.

– James McNett

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