Structure Type: built works - public buildings - schools - university buildings

Designers: Bakewell and Brown, Architects (firm); John Bakewell Jr. (architect); Arthur Brown Jr. (architect)

Dates: [unspecified]

3 stories

520 Lasuen Mall
Stanford University Campus, Stanford, CA 94305

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The noted San Francisco architectural firm of Bakewell and Brown, designers of other major buildings on the Stanford Campus, including ithe Cecil Green Library, Toyon Hall and Memorial Auditorium, produced the Spanish Colonial composition for this first student union complex. It was superceded as a student center by the completion of the Tresidder Memorial Union in 1960, but became renovated for this purpose between 2005 and 2007.

Building Notes

The Registrar's Office at Stanford said of the Old Union's use in 2019: "Stanford's student union, known as the Old Union, serves as a hub for student activities on campus. The central structure in a three-building complex, the Old Union has administrative offices for ASSU, Office of Student Activities (OSA), Tresidder Meeting Services, and the Office for Religious Life. It also houses a multifaith center known as CIRCLE (Center for Inter-Religious Community, Learning, and Experiences), meeting rooms for student use, and the Axe and Palm which offers casual dining. Adjoining the Old Union, the Nitery houses a black-box theater and El Centro Chicano, and the Clubhouse is home to the Asian American Activities Center and the Native American Cultural Program." (See Stanford, Registrar's Office, "Old Union," accessed 11/21/2019.)


A $24 million renovation campaign occurred during 2005-2007. Of this two-year renovation, Ray Delgado of the Stanford University News stated in 2005: "The renovation of the Old Union complex to restore its historical function as a space for students is proceeding full steam ahead now that administrators have figured out where they will locate the various occupants of the complex after it is closed for construction in the Autumn Quarter. The complex, which consists of three buildings constructed between 1915 and 1923 as a women's dormitory and the first campus student union, will completely close for renovations by the holiday break, but most functions currently housed there will be moved to new locations before then. The renovations, which are estimated to cost $24 million, are expected to be complete by the time students return for the Autumn 2006 quarter. White Plaza also will be remodeled while the complex is closed for renovation. When completed, all of the student groups that are currently housed in the complex will return, along with the addition of several student publications that are currently housed elsewhere on campus. The main Old Union building will feature a large café and living room on the ground floor, as well as offices for the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU), the Office of Student Activities, and the Office for Religious Life, and meeting and organization spaces for student groups." (See Ray Delgado, Stanford University, "Old Union renovation to relocate several groups, offices in fall," published 06/06/2005, accessed 11/21/2019.) The renovation was completed by 09/2007 and the building dedicated on 09/25/2019. (See Kim Segall and Michael Peña, Stanford, "Renovated Old Union to reopen this month in grand fashion," published 09/12/2007, accessed 11/21/2019.)

PCAD id: 10385