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

Designers: Warnecke, John Carl, and Associates, Architects (firm); John Carl Warnecke Sr. (architect)

Dates: constructed 1968-1969, demolished 2015

1 story

435 Lasuen Mall
Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305

OpenStreetMap (new tab)
Google Map (new tab)
click to view google map
Google Streetview (new tab)
click to view google map

Building History

This low-slung, reinforced concrete building built and occupied by the Stanford University Art Department, was funded through a major donation by Nathan Cummings (né Nathan Kaminsky,1896–1985), a Canadian-born businessman who founded the Consolidated Foods Corporation; Sara Lee cakes was one of Consolidated's largest and most profitable brands. The Cummings Art Building had its formal dedication on 05/12/1969, although the Art Department's 18 faculty, 40 graduate students, 120 undergrads and small stack had been using it since early April of that year. The building cost $2,425,000 to erect, of which a sizeable chunk came from Cummings and other private donors, including the Annenberg Family. The remainder was financed by a grant from the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare. (See "Cummings Art Building Dedicated," Stanford Daily, Volume 155, Issue 58, 05/13/1969, p. 1.)

Building Notes

Located in the basement of the Cummings Art Building, the Annenberg Auditorium was a large lecture hall that was utilized by the Art Department as well as other disciplines on campus. It was named for a gift provided by publishing tycoon Walter Annenberg (1908-2002) and his second wife, Leonore Cohn Annenberg (1918-2009), a 1940 graduate of Stanford. (See Kimone Gooden, "Building names provide rich history," Stanford Daily, vol. 210, no. 62, 01/22/1997, p. 14.) This lower floor also contained classrooms, a slide room, and storage and utility areas. On the upper floor, one entered the building on the west side into a large central hallway, paved in ceramic tile. On the hallway's north side, glass doors led out onto a patio that led to art studios to the northwest. To the east of the studios was a double-loaded corridor containing faculty offices. On the south side of the central hall, stood the main office, including the chair's office. To the west of the offices, was the Art Library, a soaring space that had tall bay windows on south, west and north. The library contained a mezzanine that housed book stacks and a copier. Steps led down two floors where more book stacks were located as well as carrels for graduate students. The lowest floor's southeast corner also contained two study rooms and a locked rare book room.

A spreading, hipped roof covered in red tile protected the building from the sun. On the porch of the building, to the north of the front door was an Arnaldo Pomodoro relief, (Untitled, 1967) attached to the wall. A Henry Moore sculpture, "Large Torso--Arch," (1962-1963) stood just to the west of the main entryway.


The Cummings Art Building was slated for demolition to make room for the Hoover Institution Office and Conference Center, the 55,000-square-foot David and Joan Traitel Building, which was to have been completed by 2011. This project was delayed by several years, as the Cummings Art Building was not torn down until 2015. Construction on the Traitel Building began in the fall of 2015.

PCAD id: 12954