The Hidden Lake section of the post-war Innis Arden
neighborhood contains a unique group of Modern-era houses. The neighborhood, located in Shoreline, north of Seattle and the Highlands, overlooks Boeing Creek and Hidden Lake.
One of the initial developers of the site was Seattle architect Ralph Anderson, who purchased three parcels in the early 1950s. Other idealistic young designers and acquaintances of Anderson followed. The group included architects Jerry Gropp, Robert Marquette and Anker Molver. Like Anderson, each graduated from the University of Washington and began his career in the late 1940s and early 1950s. In Hidden Lake they designed relatively affordable dwellings, principally for their own families.
These houses in Hidden Lake embody many of the idealistic principles of Modernism as it was interpreted in the Northwest. They have simple forms, typically with flat or shed roofs and the clear expression of structural components. Many of them use a post and beam structural system. Expansive window glazing and skylights bring natural light into the buildings which are set in a forested ravine. Woods, such as cedar, mahogany and fir, were used for interior and exterior finishes as well as structure. Natural materials like cork and concrete were combined with “pure” plastic and inexpensive built-in furniture. Many of the interior spaces are open to one another, encouraging an informal way of living. With decks, bridged entries and balconies, they are similarly open to their natural settings.
The dwellings that make up this community represent the development of a regional style of residential design integrated into a wooded landscape setting. Individually, many of these homes are fine examples of Northwest Modern architecture from the 1950s and 1960s. Collectively, they are a rare example of an intact Modernist community.