Naramore, Floyd A.
(1879 – 1970)
Born in 1879 in Warren, Illinois, Floyd Archibald Naramore grew up in Mason City, Iowa and attended the University of Wisconsin, where he studied engineering. After a reprieve from schooling, Naramore graduated with a Bachelor’s in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1907. Early in his career, he worked as a bridge draftsman for the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, and subsequently with architect George Fuller.
After a short-term employment with the John McEwen & Co. in Chicago, Naramore moved to Portland, Oregon where he landed a position with Northwest Bridgeworks. There he became skilled in cost estimation, a valuable skill that would serve him for the rest of his career. This likely helped him get an appointment as Architect and Superintendent of Properties for the Portland School District in 1912. During his seven years in that position, he designed sixteen schools for the district scattered across the city.
The Seattle School Board hired Naramore in 1919 as its architect. During the next thirty plus years, Naramore designed over thirty schools for the district. All but a few of the schools constructed during his tenure feature a distinctive Georgian stylistic mode which was preferred by Naramore.
On the side, in 1924 he formed a partnership with Alvin Menke, extending his work to Ellensburg, Aberdeen, Longview, and Bellingham. However, with the onset of the Depression, school construction slackened as funds were cut, and the partnership dissolved. These same factors led to Naramore’s resignation from the Seattle School District in 1932. Despite these struggles, he continued to win projects including Bagley Hall on the University of Washington campus (with Grainger & Thomas and Bebb & Gould).
The amount and scale of work commissioned by the federal government during WWII forced Naramore and other architects to form joint ventures. Initially he formed a partnership with Clifton Brady (1938-1943). With work still coming, in 1943 William Bain, and Perry Johansen were added, and the firm became Naramore, Bain, Brady & Johansen (NBBJ). At the age of 64, Naramore was named senior partner with broad responsibilities for firm management. Under his leadership the firm quickly became one of Seattle’s leading architectural practices. During the war years, they designed nearly six thousand units of housing scattered across the United States. The firm did projects for the Navy, Army and Air Force.
He passed on his experience in school planning to his younger colleagues, and supervised design work for the Diablo School (1946) and McKinley Elementary School (1949) in Olympia. Among the firm’s more notable projects in the post WWII during Naramore’s tenure include the A.W. Carlson Clinic (1949) in Everett; the University of Washington Health Sciences Building (1949); the Seattle Federal Reserve Bank (1950); Lincoln High School (1951) in Wenatchee; the Veteran’s Hospital (1952) in Seattle; and Medina Elementary School (1957).
Naramore became a fellow of the AIA in 1935 and served as president of the Washington State Chapter from (1939-1940). He died in Seattle on October 29, 1970.
– Michael C. Houser