UW Club

The building now occupied by the University of Washington Club, known as the UW Faculty Center at the time of its completion in 1960, received recognition for its design by Seattle architects Paul Hayden Kirk and Associates with Victor Steinbrueck. 

Drawing by Victor Steinbrueck 

The building became the second home for the Club since its 1909 inception, both at the same site. The Club originated at the Hoo Hoo House, designed by the renowned architect Ellsworth Storey as a lumbermen’s clubhouse for the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition of 1909.  The current Club interior incorporates wood panels preserved from the Hoo Hoo House.

The American Institute of Architects Washington State Chapter and the American Institute of Steel Construction recognized the building with design awards in 1960; and in 1961 two influential professional journals -- Progressive Architecture and Steel Construction Digest – published articles illustrating the project.

“Most of the University of Washington existing campus buildings are in the Gothic style, an idiom, the architects felt, totally opposed in character and scale to the more personal character desired for this building. A faculty club, they thought, should have residential style to encourage casual use and to achieve the aim of bringing the faculty together. 
"Since the site is somewhat isolated from other buildings, the architects decided that a complete departure from campus tradition was justified. Economy was a basic factor because two-thirds of the cost of the building was paid for by the faculty. … Total construction cost, including the site work but excluding equipment, was about $290,000, or $20 per sq. ft.” 
                   - from “Faculty Club,” Progressive Architecture, February 1961

"The steel structure, with steel T-decks exposed on the interior, gives the building a feeling of permanence and structural elegance as well as meeting required fire ratings and stringent economic considerations."   
- Steel Construction Digest 1961

“Its design broke away from the traditional collegiate Gothic style of earlier campus buildings to show off modern materials and technology.”                                  
                                                                                            - Historic Seattle, May 2010



“The rectangular forms and clean lines, together with steel framing, extensive use of glazing and a white stucco exterior represent the … movement epitomized by European architects such as Mies Van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, and Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra in the United States. Upon its completion the building was highly revered by the architectural community and local and regional press.… The Faculty Club building is an exemplary representation of the International Style of modernism as developed in the Pacific Northwest and serves to illustrate the work of two of the [N]orthwest's most important mid century architects, Victor Steinbrueck and Paul Kirk."
                                - WA State Dept. of Archaeology and Historic Preservation

In 2010, the building received designation as a historic property on the National and Washington Heritage Registers.

ARCHITECT PAUL HAYDEN KIRK  (1914-1995, BArch UW 1937)
"The highly regarded and widely published work of Paul Hayden Kirk established the image and reputation of Northwest architecture, illustrated in some sixty articles in national architectural journals between 1945 and 1970. … Notable projects include the UW Faculty Club (with Victor Steinbrueck), the University Unitarian Church, the Frank Gilbert residence at The Highlands, Intiman Playhouse, Magnolia Branch Library, Meany Hall and Odegaard Library on Red Square as well as Haggett Hall and Balmer Hall on the University of Washington campus, and the Japanese Presbyterian Church.” 
                                                                        AIA Seattle Medal of Honor, 1984
Among Seattle's strongest advocates for historic preservation, Victor Eugene Steinbrueck served on the UW Department of Architecture faculty 1946-76, as acting chair 1962-64. He developed the original concepts for the Space Needle and designed the Exhibition Pavilion for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. He played an influential role in establishing Seattle’s first historic districts, Pioneer Square in 1970 and the Pike Place Market in 1971. His civic involvement focused around saving Pike Place Market from demolition, and developing public spaces at Westlake.
His 1953 book A Guide to Seattle Architecture 1850-1953 marked the first publication on Seattle architecture. Other influential publications: Seattle Cityscape (1962), Market Sketchbook (1968, winner of the Governor’s Book Award 1969), Seattle Cityscape 2 (1973). Recognition for his efforts include his naming as First Citizen of Seattle in 1977; Seattle mayor Charles Royer’s proclamation of November 2, 1982 as Victor Steinbrueck Day; and following his death, renaming of Pike Place Park as Victor Steinbrueck Park in his honor.              
                                                                                - WA State Dept. of Archaeology & Historic Preservation, DoCoMoMoWeWA

1/10/14 in The Seattle TimesLawrence Cheek cites the Club in "What modern architecture is worth saving in Seattle?"
University of Washington Club, 1960

"Paul Hayden Kirk and Victor Steinbrueck, who also had a hand in designing the Space Needle, created this Miesian box on the UW campus. It’s right on the centerline of the International Style — no mitigating shingles or wood beams here — and it defiantly rejects the neo-Gothic idiom that prevailed elsewhere on the postwar campus in an effort to relate the new buildings to the historic context. So what’s it doing on this list?

"A wise architect once told me, “If you’re going to defy a context, defy it strongly.” That’s what this building does. It’s so self-assured in its immaculate, elegant, sparse lines that it seems to be saying to all the Gothic fussiness around it, “Don’t you wish you could clean up like this?” But at the same time, its presence is quiet, not blustery or self-aggrandizing. It’s like the student who sits unnoticed in the back, seldom speaking or doing anything to attract notice, and one day she turns out to be the valedictorian.

"As if this weren’t enough, the building thrusts itself off a hillside so as to create a vivid illusion of flying when you’re seated in the dining room. So there’s our contradiction: a straightforward, mild-mannered building conceals a heart of drama."

In 2013, the Club celebrated its history and architecture with an exhibit September 16-December 17.
At the Exhibit Opening/Membership Reception, architect Peter Steinbrueck, son of Club architect Victor Steinbrueck, offered keynote remarks.

Modern Steel
September 2013 noted the occasion with an article, "
Former AISC Architectural Award Winner Celebrated."

Team: Carole Davison, Jenelle Ebisu, Jonathan Konkol, Kathryn Rogers Merlino, Marga Rose Hancock

This page established/managed by Marga Rose Hancock
Marga Rose Hancock,
Nov 29, 2013, 1:19 PM