From the quiet corner of Mt. Vernon, Washington, Henry Klein consistently produced some of the region's most admired architecture over a career spanning more than fifty years.
Klein was born and raised in the small hamlet of Cham, Germany, and was educated in Switzerland before transferring to Cornell University where he received his BA in 1943. After his schooling, Klein worked for a variety of firms in New York before moving to Portland, Oregon in 1948 where he was employed in the office of Pietro Belluschi. Wanting to branch out on his own, at the age of 32, Klein moved to Mount Vernon and founded Henry Klein & Associates in 1952. The architectural office was the first full service architectural firm in Skagit County.
One of Kleinís first major projects in Mt. Vernon was the downtown library (1956), which received high accolades in the architectural community and was featured in Architectural Record. Other notable projects include the Ellis House (1962) on Shaw Island, Swinomish Tribal Center (1965) in LaConner; the Skagit County Administration Building (1977), the Nash and Mathes residential halls (1967) at Western Washington University (WWU) in Bellingham, and the Performing Arts Center also at WWU. More recent work includes a series of libraries in Kent (1991), Eastsound (1992) and Mount Vernon High School (1991). Klein also completed a remodel of a small downtown commercial space in La Conner into the Museum of Northwest Art (1997).
In 1978, Henry Klein & Associates became The Henry Klein Partnership. Colleagues David Hall and Lowell Larsen joined the firm as partners. In 1981, Klein was inducted into the AIA College of Fellows. Six years later, his colleagues recognized his influence on Northwest architecture by awarding Klein the AIA Seattle Medal.
Henry Klein retired in 2004 after 52 years of practice. HKP continues today. Klein passed away on March 5, 2013.
- Michael C. Houser