12s Going All-Out to Show They're All-In with Hawkitecture

All across the state, from Ferndale to Othello and beyond, fans inside buildings big and small are going all-out to demonstrate that when it comes to the Hawks, they’re All-In.

Many, many of you 12s proudly wear your Seahawks colors at work, at school and when you're out and about. You may plant a placard in your window or raise a 12 flag for all to see.

And then there are those who take this phenomena known as Hawkitecture to a whole 'nother level, no matter the scale.

Some of the biggest structures in Washington are emblazoned with blue and green lights, gigantic 12s, or both. There have been nine-story depictions of Richard Sherman on the Eastside, huge construction cranes lighted in Hawks neon hues, and oversize flags draped from gigantic airport hangars, corporate headquarters and towering skyscrapers.

Yet there is just as much Spirit of the 12 to be found in the far reaches of Seahawks Nation, where homeowners are creating rural, drive-by shrines to share with like-minded neighbors while also sparking new friendships.

The term Hawkitecture first earned a social media hashtag a year ago, during the NFC playoffs. It gathered momentum throughout the Super Bowl run and victory celebration. However, the Seattle skyline got its first glimmer of a multi-story '12' when WaMu Center opened at 1301 Second Avenue, way back in the weeks preceding Super Bowl XL.

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12: It Was Meant to Be

Seven years later and now named the Russell Investments Center, the 42-story skyscraper serves as a beacon to those approaching from land, and especially by sea. The '12' measures 18 floors high and extends across nearly the entire west façade. Crowning the building is the glowing Seahawks logo.

"It was meant to have a '12' on it," says Matt Hale, property manager for building owner CommonWealth Partners. "The building's architecture is perfect for this."

To fully appreciate this (or any) Hawkitecture requires one to pause and study the detail.

"Our whole goal," says Hale, 'was to make it look like the 12th Man flag, with the block lettering and angles; that's what we wanted to emulate."

Then there's the spirit of the 12s inside Russell Investments Center. Elevators feature lifesize Fatheads of Seahawks players. Hale lists no less than 12 (go figure) 'team members' who make the display possible. They are constantly tweaking it, making it better still. Scores of other tenants help create the canvass each evening by lowering their shades.

"Everyone's on the same page, and we all want to show the Seahawks our support," claims Hale. "As we walk around each floor we can see it in (how they decorate) their cubes and offices, and we see (the building's) 12 as their screen saver. There's a ton of Seahawks fans in this building and the spirit is as good as anywhere in the city."

Pier 57's The Seattle Great Wheel has shown their Seahawks pride during this historic postseason run.

Visible By Land & Sea

Another dominant Hawkitecture display on the city's western doorstep is the Seattle Great Wheel, on Pier 57. Throughout the year general manager Gerry Hall has concocted Wheel color schemes to support the home teams on gameday.

A common theme among all Hawkitechts is that they are perfectionists. They want the truest blue and green possible. Like the team, these are 12s always striving to be the best.

Hall's latest Seahawks theme required 15 hours of dedication, but it's positively brilliant: The 175-foot loop edged in green, filled with blue and anchored at its center by a football, is visible to Bainbridge Island and beyond.

"It's really a frame-by-frame movie," explains Hall of the complex program for the nearly a half-million LEDs.

"I've never seen so much team support," says Hall, a resident of 25 years. "The Seahawks going to the Super Bowl has been a real unifying point for the city."

A quarter-mile from the Great Wheel, in the late afternoon shadow of the Russell Investments Center, is the three-story building housing the popular Wild Ginger restaurant and Triple Door lounge.

Moved by what he was seeing around downtown and on social media, graphic designer Mike Klay approached ownership about a window display. "They were like, 'Totally; go for it!'"

Five large, top-floor windows soon formed a bright green spellout: H-A-W-K-S. Klay says not only was the staff stoked to see it, but he constantly spies pedestrians stopping on sidewalks to take photos.

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Just Ask for the Hawks House

On the other side of the mountains, in the small town of Othello, Roger and Sharon Ensz have largely left the windows alone. The rest of their domicile, however, is full-on Hawkitecture.

Last August on Facebook, Sharon saw a Ferndale home festooned in Hawks colors. Out came the paint brushes. A month later their spot-on Seahawks blue with bright green trim was the talk of the town. Hawks eyes peer from the second level, a large '12' dominates the garage door.

News crews from Spokane have driven a hundred miles to get the story. If lost, first-time Othello visitors only need ask, Where's the Hawks House?

"We've had people come from Wenatchee, Idaho and Oregon to check it out," says Sharon. "We meet people all the time. We do it because we love the Seahawks, but it's really a lot of fun."

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Going All Griswold

Roy Baunsgard's house in North Bend may attract just as many eyes on these long winter nights. His home is a living, blinking array of blue and green at the busy corner of 436th Ave. SE and North Bend Way.

What began as a couple strands of lights grew into something akin to the Las Vegas Strip. Toward the end of 2013, each win prompted him to add another line, another feature. First came a 13-foot 'Go Hawks" sign, followed by a 3-foot '12' on the roof. By the time the Hawks beat the Niners for the NFC title, he brought the show all the way to the curb.

"People were honking, stopping, taking pictures," shares Baunsgard. "I probably wouldn't have gone so crazy if it we weren't so visible. If I get home late from work and the lights aren't on, I hear about it from neighbors and on Facebook."

It all started when Baunsgard needed persuasion to put up holiday lights. "My wife (Joy) used reverse psychology. Knowing the Seahawks were my weakness, she said if I use blue and green lights and the Hawks keep winning, I could just leave them up.

"Once you get started, they look so cool, you can't stop. You're like Clark Griswold. It's crazy."

Baunsgard is an unabashed Hawks fan, and he realizes now that his display and others like them, have created a greater sense of community, both virtually online and in reality.

"It's really kind of cool. It means something to them," he says. "A lot of people believe some magic is going on. When those lights are on, we win.

"I'm not superstitious; I just love the Hawks. But I'll tell you in all seriousness, there's no way those lights are going out between now and the Super Bowl.

Add Your Own

Upload your own photos of Hawkitecture to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and tag them #Hawkitecture. Then visit the Tagboard on Seahawks.com to see all your fellow 12s' Hawkitecture.

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