The image of Washington state as a particularly natural place is etched into the national consciousness: a heavily-forested landscape, punctuated by mountains and dotted by broad expanses of water. The climate is damp and cool, but the state is clean and green. The built environment, drawn historically from Washington’s abundant stands of timber, is forward-thinking and nestled into a spectacular natural environment with its exposed wooden structure and free-flowing interior space. It is sustainable.
Cities and skyscrapers are not immune from this intimate connection with nature. The most representative view of Seattle, the state’s most populous city, depicts its futuristic Space Needle and downtown skyline framed by a perpetually snow-capped Mount Rainier. Even medium-sized Spokane—long the metropolis of a vast dryland agricultural region—practically denies its own architectural footprint with a twenty-first-century slogan capitalizing on its surroundings: “Near Nature, Near Perfect.” Tucked into the northwest corner of the continental United States, the state of Washington emerges as a beautiful, verdant landscape where people and architecture exist in concert with the rhythms of nature.
So common is Washington’s association with nature that a 1916 state-sponsored guidebook, The Beauties of the State of Washington, implored potential settlers to consider that the “cozy retreat” they had imagined in their “youthful impressionable days” could be found in Washington: a place where “wonderful pictures… are constantly visible from your kitchen window or from your work shop.” Such pictures included “mountains, glaciers and waterfalls” that were “not excelled by the most boasted scenes of Switzerland.” Hyperbole dominated such booster publications in the early part of the twentieth century. Yet for the western half of the state, where mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls do exist, the lingering notion that the state’s built environment might be distinguished by cozy retreats tucked into a verdant or sublime landscape has created an enduring impression.
This impression is, of course, far too broad and sweeping to encompass the geographical and architectural diversity of the nation’s 43rd state. Washington is also distinguished by its vast expanses of dryland farms, barren “scablands,” rolling hills, small towns, ranches, and a series of massive federal construction projects that altered the Columbia River and—with the Hanford Engineering Works in the state’s desert-like, southwestern corner—played a significant role in world history. Architecturally, Washington has never fallen into a consistent pattern; if consistencies exist, they are typically more regional in scope, tied more closely to earlier patterns of development.
By the late nineteenth century, especially in the state’s population centers of Seattle, Tacoma, and Spokane, architectural styles drew readily from then fashionable trends in Europe and along the American eastern seaboard. Given its geographical distance from the centers of power to the east, it may have taken a bit longer for those influences to reach Washington. But a cursory glance over the whole of Washington state’s architectural history finds examples of every imaginable style—from Richardsonian Romanesque to midcentury modern; and every building type, from barns to aircraft manufacturing plants. Washington has historically welcomed the contributions of several renowned non-native designers as well, from Daniel Burnham and the Olmsted Brothers to Robert Venturi, Frank Gehry, and Rem Koolhaas.
Still, much architecture in Washington has long drawn upon the availability of local materials, its location on the edge of the Pacific Rim, and other regional influences to develop, cultivate, and strengthen its own building traditions. It is these traditions—those carefully attuned to climatic conditions and outwardly woven into the natural landscape—that themselves have arguably become more commonly associated with the state’s built environment. And it has been the proclivity over the past half-century for Washington-based architects and firms, such as James Cutler, Tom Kundig, Mithun, and the Miller Hull Partnership, to design with the natural environment as the principal client. This has helped the state’s built environment resonate internationally and has brought some credibility, however muted, to the claims of its hyperbolic boosters. Together, they have helped place Washington firmly on the proverbial architectural map.
The actual map delineates a predominantly rectangular state of some 66,836 square miles that spans approximately 360 miles from east to west and 240 miles from north to south. Washington can be divided broadly into two distinct climatic zones: the largely wet, temperate western side, with its evergreen forests and nearly contiguous and ever-growing cities and suburbs of Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Bellingham, and Vancouver, and the mostly dry climate and more extreme temperatures of the rural east, where cities are generally smaller and far more geographically dispersed. The often snow-capped, sparsely inhabited Cascade Mountains mark an approximately 50-100–mile-wide climatic and population dividing line between the western and eastern parts of the state, but do not precisely bisect it. A portion of the 1,243-mile-long Columbia River, whose basin drains some 259,000 square miles and reaches into seven states and British Columbia, wends through eastern and central Washington and is that region’s most distinguishing geographic feature, yet its remote path inspired only a few early settlements and limited examples of the built environment. In the central and eastern areas of the state, a lack of major transportation routes, challenging geographic conditions, and a more volatile climate—with the exception of Spokane and a few upstart towns that grew up along transportation routes or in proximity to vital natural resources—resulted in historically stagnant or slow population growth.
The character of Washington’s built environment has followed its climatic and geographic conditions. On the western side, where an average rainfall of approximately 100 inches per year has yielded an abundance of Douglas fir, cedar, western hemlock, and spruce, construction historically has been characterized by wood. East of the Cascades, precipitation is far less frequent and the rugged hills, deserts, flat plains, and underlying volcanic basalt is less conducive to timber construction, although stands of timber do exist and early examples of log construction were occasionally sprinkled among the vast, scattered farmlands and open spaces that encompass the region. The emergence of national transportation networks, the arrival of professional designers, and major urban conflagrations by the late nineteenth century either necessitated or created opportunities for building with different materials and in all manner of styles, but the use of wood never fully disappeared.
That the popular imagination associates Washington’s built environment with wood is, thus, not entirely inaccurate—it is just that a more systematic characterization might locate it in the western, and more populated, side of the state. That association potentially can be traced historically to Washington’s indigenous Coast Salish peoples, who share the same general coastal geography with the First Nations tribes of what later became British Columbia. It is not, however, clear who first developed the typology of the massive, plank house of red cedar for which the Haida and Kwakwaka’wakw have become known, but it is noteworthy that this distinctive building type, emerging from ancestral traditions and suitable for ceremonial potlaches as far north as Alaska, may also have once lined the shores of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula. That natives in the coastal, wetter regions of the state used every part of the red cedar trees they cut for building materials, and paid homage to their spirit, indicates perhaps a longstanding connection between the people of the region and the environment in which they live. A devastating mid-eighteenth-century mudslide burying the beachside village of Ozette, occupied by ancestors of the Makah peoples for at least two millennia near Neah Bay in the state’s most northwesterly corner, proved fortuitous to archaeologists who uncovered six buried plank houses in the 1970s—along with a host of wooden objects revealing the material culture of the Makah. Pit houses and sod-roofed mat lodges are believed to have been more common to the more transient natives of the state’s drier areas in the Columbia River Basin, the geology of which was substantially shaped by a cataclysmic ice-age flood that created the channeled scablands of southwest Washington. But widespread evidence of any of these building types in Washington has remained elusive.
European-American settlement, which did not begin in earnest until after Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery had passed briefly through the southeastern edge of Washington on their way to the Pacific Ocean in 1804–1806, ultimately would provide a grounding for a different sort of built environment—one with stylistic ties to the western architectural tradition. Beginning in the 1840s, settlers erected a number of forts, outposts, and missions to facilitate the fur trade, spread the gospel, and otherwise claim European-American dominion over the land; in 1847, the infamous Whitman Massacre near modern-day Walla Walla resulted in a more permanent military presence in the region. By 1856, Fort Simcoe rose on the eastern slope of the Cascades west of modern-day Yakima—its commanding officer’s quarters, designed by U.S. Army draftsman Louis Scholl, with its civilizing Gothic Revival features closely (and likely intentionally) resembling the depictions of country houses in the treatises of Andrew Jackson Downing. Yet such architectural efforts to resemble pattern-book prototypes, themselves looking to the “old world,” were not initially widespread. What was called Washington Territory in the late 1850s featured a scattered built environment of farmsteads in eastern Washington and, west of the Cascade Mountains, a few small clusters of wooden houses, businesses, and churches in small villages such as Vancouver, Claquato, Tumwater, Olympia, Steilacoom, and Bellingham.
The state’s rich timber reserves, the demand for building materials from the exploding city of San Francisco, and the subsequent emergence of the railroads beginning in the 1870s changed Washington’s outlook (and, to a certain degree, its look). It also helped provide a foundation for an unprecedented economic boom in the territory, which was incorporated as a state in 1889. Following the Northern Pacific Railroad’s decision to locate its transcontinental terminus along Commencement Bay in the southern reaches of the Puget Sound, the city of Tacoma became Washington’s principal late-nineteenth-century beneficiary—so much so that city officials hired famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted to provide a curvilinear, contour-hugging city plan that countered the existing grid and physically suggested that even the urban environment would always, in some sense, remain natural.
It was not to be. Land speculation demanded orientation to business and the railroad, and Tacoma engaged in the all-too-common race for territorial industrial supremacy. In this case, that race was with Seattle to the north, where coal joined timber to create a more diversified economy and a city that the Great Northern Railway, in 1889, chose as its terminus just six years after the Northern Pacific Railway chose Tacoma. In the drier regions of the state, narrow-gauge railroads brought agricultural products (such as wheat from the fertile soils of the Palouse) to the Snake and Columbia rivers and to eastern Washington’s rail hub of Spokane. From there, these goods shipped out to the wider world.
By the 1880s, people and profit were flooding into Washington. Railroad company–sponsored artists, such as Eli Glover and Henry Wellge, helped promote the state and assisted its growth. They enticed potential settlers with hundreds of romantic, mass-produced birds-eye views of Washington’s youthful, upstart towns, from Cheney in the east to North Yakima in the center—their orderly, grid-like plans set within dramatic natural scenery. Yet with convenient railroad links to national markets, Washington’s nineteenth-century settlers seemed perfectly content to exploit that natural environment for population and prosperity. Even Spokane dammed its spectacular falls and permitted a web of wires, railroad tracks, bridges, and industries to dominate the city center. Architecture with a capital “A” soon followed the rails: new materials, pattern books, ideas, and informally trained designers seeking a new place to practice their craft made their way westward.
Most people clustered in the largest cities along the Puget Sound, where whirring, steam-powered sawmills transformed the area’s forests into millions of board feet of lumber suitable for construction—much of it initially shipped to San Francisco in the 1850s to help the California city rebuild from a series of earthquakes and subsequent fires. Despite the completion of the Northern Pacific terminus in Tacoma by 1883, to which rails were extended to Seattle, Tacoma’s supremacy as the state’s largest city was short-lived. Seattle had diversified its economy to coal, shipping, and other commercial enterprises and grew from 3,553 people in 1880 to 237,194 by 1910, aided by the discovery of gold in the Yukon and its role as an outfitting center; Spokane, meanwhile, expanded from 350 people in 1880 to 104,402 by 1910, due in part to the 1883 discovery of riches in Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene mining district and the arrival of the Northern Pacific, where it became—and still is—the largest city between Seattle and St. Paul, Minnesota. Spokane, however, remains geographically remote and has not experienced substantial growth since the early part of the twentieth century, when corporations began disinvesting in mining interests and money flowed elsewhere, mainly to cities along the eastern seaboard.
Nonetheless, the economically prosperous late-nineteenth-century years in Washington yielded some substantial, if not impressive, buildings. Spurred in part by catastrophic downtown fires in the 1890s, masonry business blocks and steel-framed, Richardsonian Romanesque skyscrapers rose in Seattle and Spokane, and the downtowns of Tacoma, Fairhaven, and Port Townsend sprouted the banks, hotels, theaters, city halls, courthouses, and railroad depots that characterized rising late-nineteenth-century U.S. cities. All of them featured built environments with architectural nods to the western tradition. The smaller, former “frontier” towns of Walla Walla and Vancouver included their share of buildings whose details drew upon this tradition, and, on occasion, such details could be discovered in the built environment of the purpose-built company towns of Port Gamble (lumber) and Roslyn (coal). The state’s early normal schools and institutions of higher education in Bellingham, Cheney, Ellensburg, Pullman, and Seattle also greeted students with monumental buildings reviving the styles of Classicism, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Tudor, Georgian, Colonial—and nearly everything else.
That a range of historical styles marked the fin-de-siècle architectural landscape of Washington hardly suggested a nostalgic yearning for an expiring European heritage. Rather, such efforts—from the Gothic Revival St. James Catholic Church in Vancouver (1885, Mother Joseph) to the Queen Anne Revival Garfield County Courthouse (1901, Charles Burggraf)—collectively marked progressive architectural attempts to announce the permanence of a region once considered a mere outpost of civilization. For wealthy individuals (or those aspiring to be so), such as James N. Glover who hired the prolific Kirtland Cutter to design a mansion for him in Spokane in the late 1880s, it suggested their desire to imagine themselves as heirs to an established lineage.
The migration of several designers with East Coast or European training to Washington in the early part of the twentieth century only solidified this notion, as more buildings bearing a “professional” pedigree began to appear on the land. With some exceptions, such as the Prairie Style–inspired residential work of Ellsworth Storey in the Seattle area, an academic architectural eclecticism ruled the day—at least for monumental, institutional structures. This was less the case in the more rural and dispersed regions of central and eastern Washington, where grange halls, barns, grain silos, and other associated structures common to the agricultural landscape of the Columbia River Basin typically rose with local materials and details that assisted their function. Several of the picturesque wooden barns gracing the vast, rolling, wheat-rich landscape of the Palouse were designed and built simultaneously to shelter hay, combines, and massive teams of horses that spent long days hauling farm implements up and down the endless hills. These barns exhibit extraordinary craftsmanship, but there was no associated need to measure up to a European tradition.
Nor was there such a need when private developers, state officials, and the federal government eyed Washington’s abundant natural resources less as exploitable commodities and more as enhancements for Washington’s outdoor lifestyle potential. By 1900, Congress had already established Mount Rainier as the nation’s fifth national park, and the inns and lodges there and elsewhere in the state, including the Lake Quinault Lodge (1926, Robert Reamer), soon would showcase a conscious rusticity with steeply pitched roofs, gables, and dormers and interiors that featured massive stone fireplaces and exposed, unrefined local structural timber. No matter their superficial resemblance to Swiss mountain chalets, these buildings seem particularly suited to their natural, forested surroundings. Such attention to the local environment would gradually become a hallmark for design in the Pacific Northwest, although it could be taken to superficial extremes: the Bavarian-themed village of Leavenworth, high in the North Cascades with its Alpine-like backdrop, did not even exist prior to the 1960s.
Still, there remained significant, if occasional, works of architecture that demonstrated the state’s linkages to national trends in the first half of the twentieth century—the Art Deco A.E. Larson Building in Yakima (1931, John W. Maloney) and the streamlined Moderne Bellingham High School (1938, Floyd Naramore) are two notable examples. But Washington is perhaps best represented during this period by the massive engineering projects that emerged during the Great Depression and World War II—significant perhaps more in their scale, power, and impact than their architecture. The colossal effort to subdue the mighty Columbia River with a series of dams and powerhouses to provide hydroelectric power and irrigation for the state in the 1930s, none bigger than the Grand Coulee, likely would have dominated any state’s midcentury engineering agenda.
Yet the country’s entry into World War II in the early 1940s also placed Washington at the center of wartime production. This included the manufacturing of plutonium at the Hanford Engineering Works in the southwestern Washington desert—the catalyst for the explosive urban growth of the “Tri-Cities” region, and the city of Richland in particular. There, the federal government constructed entire neighborhoods from scratch, following what had become typical suburban patterns. There was also an enormous increase in airplane production by the expanding Boeing Company at its Seattle plant. So crucial was this plant’s contribution to the war effort that, to deter potential enemy aircraft, the company hired Hollywood stage set designer John Stewart Detlie to provide a replica suburban residential development on its roof—replete with full-scale houses of plywood, streets, and landscaping made of burlap netting and chicken wire.
No such aircraft ever entered Washington airspace, and urban green projects would take a largely different, more environmentally conscious, direction in later years. Freeway Park (1976, Lawrence Halprin and Associates), draped over a parking garage and I-5 in Seattle, and the reconfiguration of the former Northern Pacific railyards into Spokane’s environmentally themed Expo ’74 (and further redevelopment into Riverfront Park) offered one set of responses, helping pave the way for a greener urban environment. The ongoing removal (as of 2017) of the Alaskan Way Viaduct through central Seattle and its eventual replacement with a waterfront park suggests the enduring power of these 1970s precedents.
Such precedents and others began in piecemeal fashion, however, partly in reaction to the oil crisis but also as a design effort to mitigate the hard edges of an International Style modernism that had joined the panoply of styles in the post–World War II years. They also worked to counter the prevalence of a transportation network that increasingly favored the automobile. Paved highways stretched to all counties and connected major cities by the 1910s but, as with elsewhere in the U.S., took on a more visible presence by the 1960s following the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 and the construction of limited-access, concrete interstate highways throughout the state. Efforts to “green” the urban environment may be seen as having a socially ameliorating effect as well: they attempted to help ease a legacy of wartime bravado and discrimination that included the expulsion of the state’s Japanese residents to internment camps in dispersed, and desolate, settings in the American West. This legacy is today remembered in three dimensions at the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial on Bainbridge Island (2011, Johnpaul Jones).
One would be hard-pressed to link International Style modernism in postwar Washington with global politics in any direct way, however. Several examples of the International Style (with designs focused upon transparency, asymmetry, non-monumentality, and column-free interior space) offered instead a vision of a brave new world, suitable for corporate capitalism and free from ideology. The Norton Building in Seattle (1959, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill) is perhaps the state’s most pristine representative, but the reinforced concrete buildings by Seattle-based Paul Thiry and Spokane-based Kenneth Brooks (arguably Washington’s leading mid-century modernist practitioners) and the structural gymnastics of buildings such as the St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tacoma (1974, Bertrand Goldberg) ensured that the state would not exist apart from national and international trends.
A handful of practitioners, many of whom were educated at the University of Washington in the interwar years, ensured, as well, that the state’s midcentury design output would do far more than suggest that Washington was no longer an architectural outpost. Although there was never a collective decision to establish a distinctive brand of “northwest modernism,” architects such as Paul Hayden Kirk, Victor Steinbrueck, Paul Thiry, Ralph Anderson, Omer Mithun, John Morse, Gene Zema, and Wendell Lovett in Seattle; Robert Billsborough Price and Alan Liddle in Tacoma; and Bruce Walker, Royal McClure, Kenneth Brooks, and Tom Adkinson in Spokane had, by the 1960s, offered a series of small-scale, largely wooden, residential and institutional structures that attempted to blend seamlessly with the natural environment. Their houses, branch libraries, churches, and clinics employed the language of architectural modernism with their exposed structure; free-flowing, non-hierarchical interior space; anti-monumentality; and general lack of applied ornament, but did so with post-and-beam timber framing and with minimal disturbance to existing landscape conditions.
Perhaps no better representative of this northwest modernist direction is the residential development of the Hilltop Community in the emerging Seattle suburb of Bellevue, which, by 2017, had become the state’s fifth-largest city and featured a steel-and-glass skyline looming above Lake Washington east of Seattle. But at Hilltop, the architects’ mostly wooden, structurally expressive houses served to temper the otherwise standard pattern of curvilinear streets and tract houses that typified American postwar suburban sprawl. In Fircrest, just west of Tacoma, Walter Widmeyer, working for the Douglas Fir Plywood Association, experimented in the 1950s with plywood as a structural material for roofs, walls, and floors, yet made the unspectacular, mass-produced material seem appropriate for the wooded district. Exclusive Mercer Island features several examples where naturally illuminated houses blend unobtrusively with the heavily forested natural environment.
Beyond laying a physical template for environmental consciousness in design, this generation of architects established an equally important legacy of public engagement. Victor Steinbrueck, whose architectural oeuvre likely will be associated with his contributions to the design of the Space Needle, may have provided his greatest contribution when, together with architects Fred Bassetti and Ibsen Nelson, he led the movement to save Seattle’s Pike Place Market in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Along with an increasing effort to design in environmentally responsible ways, the move towards historic preservation helped establish Washington at the leading edge of sustainability—decades before the term “sustainable design” became fashionable in the architectural lexicon.
It has not been a direct or even particularly apparent move, however. The state’s built environment has continued to vacillate between an environmentally conscious agenda and developer-driven, technocratic modernism. Indeed, any overview of Washington architecture in the second half of the twentieth century must acknowledge a wealth of high-speed roads, corporate office parks, hospitals, stadiums, schools, government buildings, university campuses, airport expansions, high-rise apartments, and general residential developments that would seem to defy any sort of environmental shift. After all, the world’s first outdoor shopping mall—Northgate in Seattle (1950, John Graham Jr.)—rose amidst a sea of asphalt at the same time Kirk, Lovett, and others were formulating ideas for site-specific wooden houses tucked into nature.
Indeed, as much as the state might wish to cultivate its collection of midcentury residential architects who helped lay the foundation for Washington’s reputation as a center for anti-modernist, sustainable design, the late twentieth century also witnessed the rise of the mega-firm, whose portfolio could handle nearly any building type—and often did. Indeed, Seattle remains the corporate headquarters for a few of the nation’s largest revenue-grossing firms, including NBBJ, Callison, and MG2. Working alongside these firms and others were, and continue to be, the enormous civil engineering outfits of Magnusson Klemencic, KPFF, and CH2M Hill along with major construction companies such as Skanska, Turner, Kiewit, GLY, Hoffman, and Sellen, and no project was too small or too challenging. The inverted curved facade of Seattle’s 76-story Columbia Center (1986, Chester L. Lindsey)—once the tallest building west of the Mississippi—and the cocktail-like stem of the 31-story Rainier Tower (1977, Minoru Yamasaki), both in Seattle, were structural engineering feats and architectural curiosities, but firmly entrenched in a futuristic, corporate modernist vision of the efficient city predicated on automobile convenience and business acuity. Yamasaki’s claim that the open space provided by the Rainier Tower stem was part of his larger vision of a communal “green downtown” did not resonate urbanistically; the space below the stem became little more than a setting for retail, and a 58-story tower, designed by NBBJ as a formal inverse of the Rainier Tower with a large footprint, is proposed to its north.
But the seeds already had been planted for a greener architectural landscape, and they took greater root when James Wines chose to feature James Cutler’s hand-excavated, all-cedar Bridge House (1987) in Bainbridge Island in his seminal book Green Architecture (2000). Cutler’s sensitive designs were paralleled by examples from others at the time, including David Miller and Robert Hull, who would later form their own partnership. The difference from their midcentury modernist progenitors involved a greater attention to the typically wasteful mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) systems as well as the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that allegedly permit optimal user comfort.
By the turn of the millennium, the notion of “green architecture” in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere increasingly meant the reduction of waste in construction and the maximization of natural systems in design, including the use of recycled, non-toxic materials; favoring natural light over electric light; the addition of roof gardens, bioswales, and drought-resistant plants; and the re-use of rainwater—without sacrificing aesthetics. These environmental controls, and others, are today promoted by the “Living Building Challenge,” which insists not only that all buildings must produce as much (if not more) energy as they consume, but that they provide equity, beauty, health, and happiness as well—and do so for an extended period of time. Striving to lead in this arena, the Bullitt Center (2013, Miller Hull Partnership) on Seattle’s Capitol Hill seeks to become the world’s first net-zero-energy commercial building; its array of rooftop photovoltaics provides the obvious power source for a building whose most user-friendly feature is the “irresistible stair”—a glass-enclosed, heavy-timber staircase irresistible less for its particular design but for its views of the city and region. It is perhaps a building such as the Bullitt Center—or, completed a decade earlier, an outdoor learning retreat for schoolchildren featuring unfinished recycled wood, composting, and rainwater collection called IslandWood on Bainbridge Island (2002, Mithun)—that upholds the prevailing image of Washington’s built environment.
A “green” image remains the case despite the not-always-sustainable expansion of the Puget Sound region in the early twenty-first century. Aided by the explosive growth of the technology sector, rising employment opportunities have spurred continuous regional sprawl as employees scramble to find affordable housing—the reality of everyday life outstripping companies’ efforts to promote a green or sustainable lifestyle by locating their corporate headquarters in downtown Seattle. Even the presence of the high-tech Seattle Central Library (2004, Rem Koolhaas/OMA) in the heart of the city—an internationally notable building designed by an internationally notable architect with a debatable local and regional specificity—has not shifted the state’s natural image. The library is a stunning exercise of architectural theory put to bricks and mortar (or, rather, to steel and glass) and, perhaps most importantly, a well-used, inclusive civic space, but its legacy may become something of an anomaly in the long history of Washington’s architecture. For a state where the natural environment seems always to loom larger than the built environment, the buildings that lie lightly, even unobtrusively, on the land ultimately may be those that offer the most enduring impact. Only time will tell.
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