AKA: Regent's Plan, University of Washington Campus Plan, Seattle, WA; University of Washington, Bebb and Gould Plan, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - public buildings - schools - university buildings; representations - drawings - plans

Designers: Bebb and Gould, Architects (firm); Charles Herbert Bebb ; Carl Freylinghausen Gould Sr. (architect)

Dates: constructed 1915

1410 NE Campus Parkway
University of Washington Campus, Seattle, WA 98195


The University of Washington experienced rapid growth during the years immediately following its relocation to its Montlake site in 1895, particularly after 1900. As a result, administrators gradually commissioned various campus plans to guide the development of the campus into a coherent, capacious and beautiful whole. Carl F. Gould, Sr.'s 1915 Campus Plan was its most important, as it was undertaken directly after the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, and factored into its design several of the fair's most important plan elements.

Building History

The first University of Washington (UW) campus stood in Downtown Seattle, on the site of the present Fairmount Olympic Hotel. In the early 1890s, administrators of the university worked with State Representative Edmond S. Meany to find another, larger property on which to lay out the campus. This land, located in northeast Seattle had frontage on Lake Washington and was nearby to Lake Union. The UW relocated to its new quarters in 1895. Before the move, Seattle architect William E. Boone (1830-1921) prepared a preliminary plan in 1891, but this scheme, like his design for the first building on campus, did not get built for cost reasons.

Two early plans, the Oval Plan of 1900, devised by UW Engineering Professor A.H. Fuller, and the Olmsted Plan of 1904, developed the basic conceptual framework that guided campus development before the Alaska Yukon-Pacific Exposition (AYPE) of 1909. The latter created the idea of building a liberal arts quadrangle to the north and a science quad set off at a 45 degree angle to the south. The Olmsted firm produced another plan for the AYPE that introduced a strong axis aligned with Mount Rainier, leading from the Liberal Arts Quad to the Science Quad.

Architect Carl F. Gould (1873-1939) synthesized ideas contained in plans by the Olmsteds for the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and one completed by them in 1914. Gould's article, "The American University and Its Library Problem,"discussed his concept that guided campus building between 1915 and World War II. (See Carl F. Gould, "The American University and Its Library Problem," Architectural Forum, XLIV: 6, 06/1926, pp. 361-366.)

In general, Gould utilized Beaux-Arts planning concepts based on axial sight lines, or allées, to structure his plan. Within the plan, buildings were grouped according to their functions, creating the Liberal Arts Quadrangle, a Science Quadrangle, and an Administrative Quadrangle (alhtough this was never built). In addition, Gould planned for a library complex to form its own trrangle at the intersection of the Liberal Arts and Science allées. In this way, the library functioned as the metaphorical and physical heart of the campus.

Building Notes

The University of Washington had to adopt new campus plans to prepare itself for rapid growth of its student population. Enrollment figures were lower than expected in the first years following the school's move to Montlake in 1895. An article in the Seattle Times observed in 1897: "The University of Washington has opened its autumn term, and while the number of students is not so great as expected by some, there is one wholesome feature: the new students are all much better prepard for university work than any entering class in the history of the institution. By raising the requirements for admission the number has been reduced, but the preparation of the students has been improved, the work of the high schools has been stimulated and made more uniform throughout the state, all of which promises a most successful growth for the University of Washington." (See "State University Notes," Seattle Daily times, 09/07/1896, p. 5.) A year later, 1897, the enrollment was around 200 students.

By 1900, this number had jumped to about 600. "Present indications point to six hundred students being registered at the University of Washington before the close of the present college year, which takes place about the first of June. In view of the fact that scarcely more than 'two hundred' were registered in 1897, at the close of the Edwards regime, this advance is meritorious." (See "Six Hundred Students," Seattle Daily Times, 01/29/1900, p. 6.)

A healthy enrollment bump occurred just after 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. One article observed: "The summary of enrollment for the 1909-10 sessions at the University of Washington, as prepared by Registrat Herbert T. Condon, gives the university a net total of 2,156 students, 400 more than attended in 1908 and 1909. (See "University Cares for 2,156 in Past Year," Seattle Daily Times, 06/21/1910, p. 10.)

Twelve years later, the number had more than doubled. An article in the Seattle Times, published 03/13/1922, indicated the current makeup of the UW: "A total yearly spending power of $4,791.569.45 is represented by the 5,000 students enrolled at the University of Washington, according to investigations recently completed by the business office of The University Daily, campus newspaper. The average amount spent by the individual student during the college year has bee figured at $958.31. The figures were arrived at by questionnaires answered by 200 representative students on the campus. The reports were averaged and the totals taken on a basis of a student enrollment of 5,000. There are between 4,500 and 5,000 students actively registered at the university at present. The partial census shows that 61.4 per cent of the students are men and 38.6 per cent are women. Of the total, 61.5 per cent are registered from King County. It has been estimated that 85 per cent of the total enrollment of men and women students are either partly or entirely self-supporting." (See "University News," Seattle Daily Times, 03/13/1922, p. 12.)

This master plan was updated in 1934.

PCAD id: 6114