Structure Type: built works - public buildings - hospitals

Designers: [unspecified]

Dates: constructed 1930-1931

10 stories, total floor area: 95,000 sq. ft.

Architect Harlan Thomas designed this ten-story Art Deco building to house students training as nurses at the University of Washington.

Architects Bassetti and Morse undertook alterations to Harborview Hall in the 1950s; this firm transformed the nursing dormitory into offices and research laboratories.

Administrators wanted to demolish Harborview Hall in 2011. Plans called for the creation of a new plaza on the spot of Harborview Hall at a cost of $6.6 million. Some objected to this plan. Stephen Day, writing in wrote on 06/16/2011: "At a time when “sustainability” of resources is a top priority, does it really make sense for King County to spend $6.6 million of public money on demolition of this grand building to build a new plaza? This property’s profile is one that historic building developers would get pretty excited about. The building has no debt. It has a great floor plan for many uses, with a high ratio of window wall to floor area. It is historically intact in terms of the basic architectural elements. It is located in the middle of First Hill, within walking distance of downtown. Harborview Hall could potentially be renovated for housing, hotel, office, educational space, or medical offices. Instead of spending over $6 million on demolition and creating a “plaza,” that money could contribute to the renovation of this great building to create a valuable asset that would benefit taxpayers for generations to come." Day added that the hospital's political clout came to bear on the city's landmarks Board when it considered the designation of the building to the Seattle Historic Landmarks list. He wrote: "In August 2009, the Seattle Landmarks Board, in a 7-2 decision, indicated that it was poised to designate this significant building as a Seattle landmark. A month later, in a September 2009 public hearing, the hospital put on a full-court press of hired guns to denigrate the building and persuade a narrowly divided board (4-3) to deny landmarks designation. The Seattle Landmarks Board staff had made recommendations in support of that historic designation." Most members of the Landmarks Board are not well-versed in architectural history, and are easily swayed by poorly-qualified "architectural authorities" brought in to testify by developers. (See Stephen J.Day, "Hold the wrecking ball for historic Harborview Hall," article appeared 06/16/2011,Accessed 06/27/2011.)

PCAD id: 16590