Historic Properties of Spokane
Thompson, Kirk, House
Originally built in 1936, the Kirk Thompson House in the greater Rockwood Neighborhood is a wonderful example of the Art Moderne style in Spokane. The home received accolades as an “ultra of modernistic design” and as one of the “finest homes in Spokane.” It was the work of master Spokane architect G.A. Pehrson, a prominent architect and engineer responsible for hundreds of commercial and residential designs throughout Spokane and the Inland Empire for more than 55 years. The building is significant under Category C as a somewhat rare for Spokane example of an Art Moderne or Streamline Moderne style. The asymmetrical home has one-and-one-half stories and is made of steel-reinforced concrete composed of a series of stacked angular boxes. The home’s exterior walls are finished with a skin of smooth white-painted concrete, a popular design element of the Art Moderne style. Streamline Moderne is also known for its emphasis on three-dimensional forms, horizontal lines and curved surfaces. Art Deco dominated in the 1920s and Streamline Moderne dominated in the 1930s.
Popular from the early 1930s to the early 1940s, the Art Moderne style was inspired by America’s love of machines—the airplane, the car, the train, and even the toaster and the hair dryer. As new machine art, Art Moderne was honest, simple, and functional. Houses were streamlined like every other machine with rounded corners, flat roofs, horizontal bands of windows, smooth walls with deep horizontal grooves that gave the impression of speed, curved canopies, linear emphasis accentuated by stainless steel details, subdued colors—a true reflection of the country’s growing excitement about technological advancements and high speed transportation. The Thompson House emulates many if not most of the Art Moderne style.