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John L. Wright

Born in Bismark North Dakota on June 18, 1916 , John LeBaron Wright received his architectural degree from the University of Illinois in 1941.  During World War II, Wright was employed by the U.S. Army Crops of Engineers in South America, and subsequently served in the Marine Corps.  After working briefly with the Chicago architectural firm of Freedman, Altshuler & Sincere, Wright joined the firm of Bindon & Jones in Seattle in 1947.  Upon the reirement of John Jaul Jones in 1956, Wright became a partner.

Together, Bindon & Wright began to receive many large commissions.  Among their first was the glass curtain wall Seattle City Light Building (1957).  Their skill in using this new technology led them to partner with the San Francisco Office of Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill to design the Norton Building in downtown Seattle.  Completed in 1959, the 16-story building is recognized as the city of Seattle’s first modern office tower and won a Seattle Chapter AIA Honor Award in 1960.

Several large commissions followed including the downtown branch of the Seattle Public Library (1960); an addition to the Suzzallo Library on the University of Washington Campus (1963); the library at Pacific Lutheran University (1966); and Seattle Fire Station No. 40 (1965).

Throughout the 1960s several of Bindon & Wright’s project received awards and recognition.  These included the Bethlehem Pacific Coast Steel Corporation Office Building (1961)—a Seattle Chapter AIA Honor Award winner, and the Parke-Davis Company Seattle Sales Office Building (1965) for which they received an award of merit from the Seattle Chapter of the AIA.  Other notable projects include three buildings for NW Bell Telephone Management System that garnered awards from the Bell System Architectural Review in 1968.

Architect Elton C. Gildow joined the firm of Bindon & Wright as a new partner in 1968 to form Bindon Wright & Partners.  Others partners soon joined the firm, including George Hartman and Clark Teegarden.  The firm changed its name to Wright, Gildow, Hartman, Teegarden Architects and Planners (WGHT) in 1980. 

Wright was active in a variety of civic organizations including serving on the Mayor's Advisory Committe on Urban Renewal (1958); member and president of the Seattle Planning & Redevelopment Council (1959-1966); Forward Thrust Committee (1965-1970); and Chairman of the Planning Committee (1967-68) in Redmond.  He was also active in the Seattle Chapter of the AIA serving ast as Vice President (1962-64), then President (1965-66); and also served as Vice President (1966) and President (1967) of the Washington State Council of Architects.

Death date and location of death is unknown.

By Michael Houser, State Architectural Historian - June 2006


AIA Historical Directory, 1956, 1962, 1970.

"An appropriate projection of steel company's image" Pacific Architect & Builder - Dec. 1961.

"Norton Building" Pacific Architect & Builder - Feb. 1960.

"Phone Company Expansion" Seattle Times, May 27, 1962 Pg. 34.

"Parke, Davis & Co. Sales & District Office" Pacific Architect & Builder - Nov. 1966.

Advertisement - Chehalis Brick (Stevens School, Aberdeen),  Pacific Architect & Builder - Oct. 1956.

"PLU Library" Pacific Architect & Builder - Feb. 1966.

"King County Washington, Cromwell Park School" Pacific Architect & Builder - Oct. 1955.

"Seattle Public Library" Pacific Architect & Builder - May. 1958. pg. 33