Damm, Theo H.
Born on August 10, 1902 in Seattle, Theodore Harold Damm received his architectural education primarily by on-the-job training. For reasons unknown, he spent just one year at the University of Washington before going to work for architect F.A. Naramore in 1922. After spending time as a framing superintendent on a variety of construction sites, Damm gained valuable experience by working for architect Victor Voorhees, serving as a draftsman and superintendent of construction from 1923 to 1932.
While working for Voorhees, Damm moonlighted on the side and is credited with designing several buildings in Seattle including a home for Phillip Vizio (1926), a remodeling of a brick apartment structure for Chris Boysen (1926), and the Ware & Hosey Store (1928). He received his architectural license on December 29, 1928.
Damm opened his own firm in the mid-1930s and continued practicing architecture for another forty plus years. Early projects include the V.L. Miller Building (1940) in Georgetown; the Streamline Moderne style Irwin Chiropractic Clinic (1947) in West Seattle; and the Laurelhurst Community Club Gymnasium (1949-1950).
Later projects included an addition to Harborview Hospital (1954 with Henry Bittman); the Seattle Engineering Departmentís West Maintenance & Engineering Shops (1956); John Rogers Elementary School (1956); Noble, Jonson & Derrig Accounting Office (1956); West Seattle High School Gym (1959); Seattle-King County Department of Public Health Building in Bellevue (1960); and Graham Hill Elementary School (1961).
Associate Harold James Daum became a partner in 1961 and the name of the firm was changed to Damm-Daum & Associates (1961-66). After Daum left in 1966, Damm continued to practice independently until his retirement in 1973.
Dammís largest project was the controversial Seattle Municipal Building (1962). Designed in conjunction with Dallas, Texas architect James MacCammon, the 12-story, seven million dollar building, featured an exterior curtain wall of metal turquoise panels and prefabricated concrete panels blasted with crushed quartz, and a rooftop garden. Despite being referred to by many as "The Holiday Inn for Bureaucrats," the project brought Damm much attention and further work.
Damm passed away in Seattle at the age of 81 on January 17, 1984.
-Michael C. Houser