The MoPOP Building

An innovative monument to creativity set against the historic Seattle Center.

  1. MoPOP's futuristic Frank O. Gehry designed building is constructed of over 21,000 aluminum and stainless steel shingles and 280 steel ribs. If its 400 tons of structural steel were stretched into the lightest banjo string it would extend one-fourth of the way to Venus.

    Photo by Brady Harvey.

  2. A world-renowned architect, Frank O. Gehry has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Pritzker Architecture Prize (1989), the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Award (1994), the National Medal of Arts (1998), a Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects (1999), and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Americans for the Arts (2000).

    Photo by Brady Harvey.

  3. Situated at the base of the world-renowned Space Needle, MoPOP wraps around the historic Monorail. Built in 1962 for the Seattle World’s Fair, the Monorail soars right through the center of Frank O. Gehry’s unique building, transporting visitors to and from Seattle Center and the city’s vibrant urban core.

    Photo by Brady Harvey.

When Frank O. Gehry began designing the museum, he was inspired to create a structure that evoked the rock ‘n’ roll experience. He purchased several electric guitars, sliced them into pieces, and used them as building blocks for an early model design.

A fusion of textures and myriad colors, MoPOP’s exterior conveys all the energy and fluidity of music. Three-thousand panels, made up of 21 thousand individually cut and shaped stainless steel and painted aluminum shingles, encase the outside of the building. Their individual finishes respond to different light conditions and appear to change when viewed from different angles, reminding audiences that music and culture is constantly evolving.


Frank O. Gehry and Associates, Santa Monica, California

MoPOP is the first commercial project Gehry has designed in the Pacific Northwest.


LMN Architects, Seattle


  • 140,000 total square feet; footprint, 35,000 square feet
  • Highest point: 85 feet at Sky Church
  • Widest point: 210 feet at West Harrison Street
  • Length: 360 feet at 5th Avenue N


The Museum of Pop Culture (formerly EMP Museum) is located at 325 5th Avenue N at Seattle Center.


Frank O. Gehry is the first architect to use Dassault Systèmes' CATIA in the creation of his highly shaped metal buildings. CATIA allows a sculptural form to be digitized into a 3-D electronic model that can be used for the engineering of building systems and the fabrication of building elements. Invented by Dassault Systèmes for the design of Mirage fighter jets, CATIA is now the primary computer design tool for Boeing and Chrysler.