AKA: UW ECC #1, Seattle, WA

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

Designers: McAdoo, Benjamin F., Jr., Architect (firm); Benjamin Franklin McAdoo Jr. (architect)

Dates: constructed 1971, demolished 2011

1 story, total floor area: 10,000 sq. ft.

University Way NE
University District, Seattle, WA 98105

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The pioneering African-American architect Benjamin McAdoo, Jr., designed the University of Washington's Ethnic Cultural Center #1, a building that housed offices and meeting spaces for minority students in the early 1970s. A timber-frame building with monitor lighting, it lasted until its demolition in 2011, to make way for a new, enlarged Ethnic Cultural Center completed in 2013.

Building History

The Seattle architectural firm of Benjamin McAdoo and Company provided the design of this first Ethnic Cultural Center (ECC), a "temporary" building that lasted over 40 years on the site. McAdoo (1920-1981) was the first licensed African-American architect working in WA State, who began his practice in 1947. The ECC #1 stood on the southwest corner of University Way NE and NE 40th Street (what becomes NE Lincoln Street), just to the south of the connected dormitory towers, Lander Hall and Terry Hall, and east of the UW Child Care Center. The ECC #1 was a square building, with a hollow square atrium at its center.

This western edge of UW's Campus was largely rebuilt after 2008, when a series of four dormitories, all named for trees, were erected just to the north. Lander Hall was demolished in 2012 and rebuilt, with Terry set to be razed and reconstructed in 2013-2014.

Additionally, Merrill Hall was torn down in 2011, and replaced with a complex of new dormitories.

Building Notes

A pleasant, wood-frame building, the Ethnic Cultural Center #1 (ECC #1) was distinguished by its angled monitor roof, a feature often used in the twentieth century for daylighting factories and other industrial buildings. The clerestories of the monitor roofs faced north for consistent light. The second ECC by Rolluda Architects also continued the use of these monitor lights.

In UW Facilities Office literature, the Ethnic Cultural Center, was marked "Unit I," suggesting it was to have been the first of two or more buildings.


The building underwent alterations in 2001, partly to repair seismic shortcomings. This renovation began in 01/2001. (See Chelsea Page, The Daily of the University of Washington.com, "UW Ethnic Cultural Center To Complete Renovation This Summer," published 05/14/2001, accessed 10/16/2012.)


The UW tore down the Ethnic Cultural Center #1 in late 2011. The UW underscored that the ECC #1 was seismically unsafe when it was razed. The preservation of student-done murals, each representing the ethnic experience of diverse groups, slowed the demolition process. $650,000 had to be found to transfer the murals to the new ECC, fundraising that took about a year and a half.

PCAD id: 15907