Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - performing arts structures; built works - public buildings - schools - university buildings

Designers: Hewitt Isley, Architects (firm); Kirk, Wallace, McKinley AIA and Associates, Architects (firm); David M. Hewitt (architect); William A. Isley (architect); Paul Hayden Kirk (architect); David A. McKinley Jr. (architect); Donald Sheridan Wallace (architect)

Dates: constructed 1974

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4040 George Washington Lane Northeast,
University of Washington (UW) Campus, Seattle, WA 98195

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This Meany Hall replaced an earlier building with the same name that was irreparably damaged in the 04/29/1965 Olympia Earthquake and torn down. It was named for Edmond S. Meany (1862-1935), valedictorian of his University of Washington (UW) Class of 1885, revered history faculty member and two-term State Representative (representing the 42nd district) who was instrumental in relocating the University of Washington to its present site.

Meany Hall #2 was one of the last major buildiings erected during a dramatic building spurt on the UW campus, that began in about 1960 and culiminated in 1972-1973.

Building History

Following the 1965 Olympia Earthquake, the damaged Edmond Meany Hall #1 needed to be condemned and removed. It had stood since the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (AYPE), and was viewed as a safety hazard by UW officials. The UW took the opportunity to do some large-scale "urban renewal" in the heart of its campus, in front of Suzzallo Library and created a grand master plan for its "Red Square" centerpiece. Between 1970 and 1974, Kane Hall, Odegaard Undergraduate Library, and Meany Hall were all erected around a brick piazza, the first building designed by the Spokane architectural firm of Walker McGough and the latter two by the renowned Seattle firm of Kirk, Wallace and McKinley.

All of these buildings faced a paved plaza under which was a gigantic parking garage meant to serve most of the campus. The red brick facing on top of the garage became a pedestrian plaza, reminiscent of Italian piazzas. This connective space was wryly dubbed "Red Square" after its predecessor in Cold War Russia.

Seattle Times reporter Julie Emery wrote in 1972 that Meany Hall #2 would be started in June of 1972 and would likely be one of the last large new campus buildings for the forseeable future: "The $7 million Meany Hall will have a 1,200-seat auditorium. The outlook is dim for the 1972 Legislature allotting state money for future capital improvement projects because of the state’s depressed economy.” (See Julie Emery, "U.W. beginning last big year of rapid capital expansion," Seattle Times, 01/02/1972, p, F2.) During this high water mark of governmental financial support for higher education capital improvements, between 1960 and 1973, a remarkable number of new buildings were completed on the UW campus, including Sieg Hall, MacKenzie Hall, Balmer Hall, Haggett Hall, Padelford Hall, McMahon Hall, Gould Hall, Kane Hall, Odegaard Library. In fact, the stagflation of the 1970s following the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo dramatically slowed construction on the UW campus for more than a decade.

Building Notes

Kirk, Wallace and McKinley designed Meany Hall to contain a 1,200-seat auditorium, a smaller studio theatre, dance studio, storage spaces, and offices.


Hewitt Isley Architects supervised the replacement of the brick sheathing of the building's reinforced concrete structure in 1994, as the original skin did not adhere properly. More pattern was introduced into the brickwork at this time. Norman Johnston, in The Campus Guide University of Washington, stated of the renovation: "Meany Hall has a difficult structural history--its original brick veneer proved to be inadequately anchored to the building's reinforced concrete shell. The resulting replacement of the brick facing in 1994 afforded the opportunity to make changes in some of the exterior features: redesigned main entrances, a series of skylights, and a brick patterning recalling that traditional campus practice." (See Norman J. Johnston, The Campus Guide University of Washington, [New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2001], p. 47.)

PCAD id: 5851