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Summary for 3949 15TH AVE / Parcel ID / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Architecture Building Common Name: Gould Hall
Style: Modern - Brutalism Neighborhood: University
Built By: Year Built: 1971
The College of Built Environments (CBE) traces its history to 1914, when the Department of Architecture was established as a subdivision within the College of Fine Arts. It grew slowly, focusing solely on architecture until city planning was added in the early 1940s. As with many professional programs, the curriculum grew rapidly in the post-war period, and the College of Architecture and Urban Planning was established in 1957. Landscape Architecture and Building Construction (Construction Management) were added as departments in the 1960s, and a PhD program and master’s in Real Estate added recently. The CBE offices are located within Gould Hall.

Gould Hall was built in 1971 to 1972 to house the Architecture and Urban Planning Department, which had outgrown available space in nearby Architecture Hall. Situated east of 15th Avenue NE and outside the edge of the campus defined by the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition (AYPE) grounds, it was named for architect Carl F. Gould, who led the architecture department beginning in 1914 and was responsible for much of the campus planning and its buildings between 1914 and 1926.


The design was a collaborative effort by a team headed by Gene Zema, a well-known Northwest Regionalist residential designer, and Daniel Streissguth, a faculty member in the Department of Architecture. Dale Benedict, and professors Grant Hildebrand and Claus Seligmann were also associated with the design team along with structural engineers Einar Svensson and professor Robert Albrecht. The original builder was a local general contractor, Sellen Construction of Seattle, with Nels Nelson as the superintendent.

Both Streissguth and Zema were well-known designers for their individual residential projects. In the late 1950s, they teamed up with architect and architecture professor Wendell Lovett, art professor Spencer Mosely, landscape architecture instructor Robert Chittock, and structural engineer Gerard Torrence to form The Architect Artist Group (TAAG). The partnership was short-lived as all members were engaged in teaching and other projects, but it produced the design for another iconic Brutalist building, the University of Washington’s Nuclear Reactor Building/More Hall Annex (1961, demolished). Streissguth and Zema also worked in partnership on the design of the Wells Medina Nursery building and grounds in Bellevue (1968).

The original program for Gould Hall stressed the need for “useful, beautiful, well balanced architecture,” to accommodate all of the schools and departments within the College including Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning, Building Technology, and the college administration. It required a flexible space and open architectural expression, which was realized with the open interior court, central stair, and interior re-lights. 

Presently known as the home of the College of Built Environments, Gould Hall houses the Architecture, Urban Planning, and Landscape Architecture departments along with the College Library. The inclusion of the student-run coffee shop at the first floor was a legacy from one that had previously been established by the architecture students in the late 1960s in Architecture Hall, against the policy of the University. Gould Hall’s interior atrium, known as Gould Court, supports workshops, open design critiques, social gatherings, and events. 

With the exception of the new exhibit space at the second-floor and remodeling of the sub-basement and Room 100, Gould Hall is remarkably intact, and retains its original character-defining features. The building appears to be a master work by several well-known Northwest architects and a good example of the Brutalist style. It has been the subject of a state historic property inventory form, but it has not yet been evaluated by DAHP for it eligibility for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.


Dodrill, Beth. “Zema, Gene (1926 - )” DOCOMOMO WEWA (accessed December 16, 2016). 

Hildebrand, Grant. Gene Zema Architect/Craftsman. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2011, pp. 70-73.

Houser, Michael C. “Streissguth, Daniel M. (1924 - 2015) DOCOMOMO WEWA (accessed December 16, 2016).

Johnson, Norman J. 

The Campus Guide: The University Of Washington. New York NY: Princeton Architectural Press, 2001.

The Fountain and the Mountain: the University of Washington Campus 1895-1995. Published by Barry Porvorse, printed in Hong Kong, copyright Documentary Book Publishers Corporation Woodinville, WA, 1995.

The College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Seventy-Five Years at the University of Washington: A Personal View. Seattle: Norman J. Johnston and the College of Architecture and Urban Planning, 1991.

Michelson, Alan, “Gould Hall,” and “TAGG,” database entries ___ and 6068, in Pacific Coast Architects Database (PCAD), (accessed October 25, 2016).

Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, editor. Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014, p. 488.

Seattle Times 

“Why They Named It Gould Hall,” March 1, 1972 p. F1.

“Central court highlight of U.W.’s Gould Hall,” December 26, 1971, p. 26.

University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections Division, Digital Photo Collections, (accessed October 25, 2016)

University of Washington Campus Engineering Records (Design Drawings).

University of Washington, College of Architecture and Urban Planning 

“Report of Ad Hoc Committee for Programming an Addition to Architecture and Urban Planning Building University of Washington.” January, 1965.

“The Digital Commons: Creating Futures Through a Student Centered Technology Rich Environment,” CUAP Views, Autumn 2005, p. 4.

Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, WISAARD database, Historic Property Inventory, No. 42603.
Gould Hall is situated on the south side of NE 40th Street between Brooklyn and 15th Avenue NE. In close proximity, but east on the historic part of campus, established as part of the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition (AYPE) grounds is its companion building, Architecture Hall (1909), the original AYPE Fine Arts Building, which has been occupied by the Department of Architecture since the 1950s. Generally rectangular in shape, with a flat roof, Gould Hall features projecting floor levels and balconies. The building’s relatively planar front facade faces north onto NE 40th, and is setback approximately 45 feet from the north property line. Concrete pedestrian bridges with stairs span the open yard below to access the second floor. An entry on the primary west facade, off University Way NE, accesses the first floor. The building’s northeast, northwest, and southwest corners contain stair towers within concrete sheer walls.

Gould Hall is a four-story Brutalist style structure, with poured-in-place concrete walls, and structural Ts and beams supporting the concrete floor and roof slabs and cantilevered concrete balconies. Aluminum framed windows are provided in long horizontal bands along the perimeter of classrooms and the library; the pattern of the frames creating consistent vertical proportions. Other areas, such as the shop space at grade near the southwest, contain larger glazed areas.

The building’s interior is arranged around a large four-story central atrium court set below a roof monitor with north-facing skylight monitors. The atrium, which serves as a coffee shop, exhibit, and social gathering space, is ringed by a continuous balcony on the north, south, east, and west and crossed by a central monumental stair, also made of cast concrete. Classrooms are provided in spaces on the north and south sides of the balcony, along with departmental offices on the second and fourth floors and a large library on the third floor, while smaller service spaces, office, and seminar rooms are at the east and west ends.

In 2005, the subbasement and basement were remodeled to provide additional computer lab spaces (Digital Commons), in a project designed by SHKS Architects, Seattle. In 2012, new finishes, acoustic and window treatments, and electrical upgrading were undertaken along with remodeling of a classroom, and seminar and conference spaces. The designer was Hoshide Wanzer Williams. A more dramatic intervention was completed in 2015, designed by Ron Rochon, Jr. of the Miller|Hull Partnership. It created a glazed, steel-framed exhibit gallery space, at the east end of the second floor, with expansive aluminum framed windows, which projected into the interior atrium space on the interior and beyond the building’s original concrete facade on the exterior. The grade was raised in the side-yard setback and landscaping added. While it diverges in the expanse of glazing and proportion from the original building, this cubic insertion appears rational and elemental, and does not detract from the building’s integrity.

Detail for 3949 15TH AVE / Parcel ID / Inv # 0

Classication: District Status: NR, NR, NR, NR, NR, NR, NR, NR
Cladding(s): Concrete Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Varied roof lines Roof Material(s):
Building Type: Education - College Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: four
Unit Theme(s): Education
Major Bibliographic References

Photo collection for 3949 15TH AVE / Parcel ID / Inv # 0

Photo taken Nov 08, 2016
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