AKA: University of Washington, Seattle, Computer Sciences and Engineering Building, Seattle, WA

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

Designers: Thiry, Paul, AIA, Architect (firm); John Paul Jones (architect); Paul Albert Thiry Sr. (architect)

Dates: constructed 1947-1948

3 stories

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Benton Lane NE
University of Washington (UW) Campus, Seattle, WA 98195

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Building History

The University of Washington's College of Engineering established the Department of Electrical Engineering in 1902 and located the program in Science Hall (later renamed Parrington Hall). (The Department of Electrical Engineering originally was joined with the Physics Department, until they separated in 1905.) In 1910, the department relocated to the former Machinery Pavilion of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (AYPE) and remained here until 1948, when this building, designed by Seattle architect Paul Thiry (1904-1993), opened.

John Paul Jones (1892-1982) served as the Supervising Architect for the University of Washington, collaborating with architect Thiry.

Building Notes

Paul Thiry, Sr., laid out the Electrical Engineering Building in a T-shape, the main trunk of the T housing a laboratory equipped with 14 testing stations using AC and DC current. These labs were insulated acoustically from classrooms on the upper two floors. The cross of the T contained 5 other lab spaces as well as 2 shops. The building as originally built had three floors plus a penthouse containing a radar testing laboratory. A circular stair place at the center of the building allowed access to all floors including the penthouse. Both stair towers placed at either end of the T's cross, were glazed to allow students views toward Lake Washington on the East. All faculty offices, as well, were placed on the upper two floors of the cross's eastern side to maximize lake views. The exterior was clad in brick, its fenestration trimmed by contrasting Indiana limestone. Originally, this building's laboratories had easy-cleaning and fire-resistant tile walls, and the offices had plaster.

Images of the Electrical Engineering Building are included in Photo Collection #191, American Institute of Architects Photograph Collection, 1943-1976 held in the University of Washington Libraries, Department of Special Collections, Seattle, WA.


Thiry's firm added a third and fourth story in 1968-1969.


Thiry's original building was largely demolished c. 1996, and a new structure, built in two stages in 1998 and 2003, replaced it. The Boston-based firm Kallmann, McKinnell and Wood, Architects, in association with Seattle architects Mahlum and Norfors, Architects, Seattle, WA, designed the first phase.

PCAD id: 5202