AKA: University of Washington, Seattle, Foster, Michael G., School of Business Administration, Mackenzie, Donald, Hall, Seattle, WA

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

Designers: Decker and Christenson, Architects (firm); Kirk, Wallace, McKinley AIA and Associates, Architects (firm); Waldo Barrickman Christenson (architect); Ralf Edward Decker (architect); Paul Hayden Kirk (architect); David A. McKinley Jr. (architect); Donald Sheridan Wallace (architect)

Dates: constructed 1958-1960, demolished 2020

2 stories, total floor area: 43,099 sq. ft.

University of Washington, Seattle, WA

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The underappreciated Mackenzie Hall operated for 60 years, and, like a lot of Modern buildings, was allowed to deteriorate so that its replacement would seem increasingly necessary. It was replaced in 2020, just a few years after the construction of Dempsey Hall next door and PACCAR Hall (2010) nearby, giving the Foster School of Business a set of gleaming, new facilities with which to attract new students.

Building Notes

Construction on Mackenzie Hall began in late 1958 and was almost half-completed in 05/1959, according to a Seattle Times photo. (See "Nearly Half Done," Seattle Times, 05/15/1959, p. 20.) The University of Washington College of Business Administration named this building after Donald Hector MacKenzie (born 08/12/1900 in Rossland, BC, Canada- d. 08/27/1955 in Seattle, WA), who served in the Department of Accounting for 22 years and as Chair from 1949-1955. Mackenzie came to King County, WA, from BC on 09/23/1920, and lived here continuously as an alien until granted US citizenship on 01/23/1939. Mackenzie married Mary Catherine David Mackenzie (born 01/22/1908 in Glenns Ferry, ID) on 12/26/1932 in Seattle, and they had two children, Mary Ann Mackenzie (born 09/25/1935 in Seattle, WA) and Catherine Emily Mackenzie (born 08/22/1938 in Seattle, WA). (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation National Archives and Records Administration (Nara); Washington, D.C.; Naturalization Records of the U.s. District Court For the Western District of Washington, 1890-1957; Microfilm Roll: 112; Microfilm Serial: M1542, accessed 10/20/2022.)

Mackenzie was planned in tandem with Balmer Hall, completed in 1962, and connected via an outdoor walkway and a second-story skybridge. For about 48 years, the two adjoining buildings comprised part of an ensemble utilized by the UW's Michael G. Foster School of Business. A report written for the Seattle Landsmarks Board by BOLA Architecture + Planning in 01/2018 said of Mackenzie Hall: "Mackenzie Hall is part of a complex of buildings that makes up the Foster School of Business, which also includes the Bank of America Executive Education Center (1997), PACCAR Hall (2010), and Dempsey Hall (2012). Dempsey Hall replaced the 1962 Modern style Balmer Hall, which was developed as part of the original two-building assembly along with Mackenzie. Dempsey, on the site of Balmer Hall, is situated immediately west of Mackenzie, and shares an approximately 40’-wide, paved plaza with it. The physical context for the subject building was changed with the demolition of Balmer Hall in 2010 and removal of the skybridge that had once connected its second floor with that of Mackenzie Hall." (See BOLA Architecture + Planning, Landmark Nomination University of Washington Mackenzie Hall Seattle January 5, 2018, accessed 10/20/2022.)

The courtyard was the building's most engaging feature. As noted in the Seattle landmarks nomination done by BOLA Architects, "The original planting plan for the courtyard includes [sic] daphne, fragrant sarcoccoca, azaleas, vine and cutleaf maples, golden bamboo, viburnum, laurel, and pachysandra. White birch trees were proposed near the entry and southwest edge, along with one in within the courtyard in a large, round concrete planter, 15’ in diameter, which is set on a floating square base that measures 18’-4” in each direction. In 1967, a fountain was installed within this element. Prior to the fountain installation, the concrete cylindrical basin served as a planter, set within a square-shaped concrete bench. The fountain consists of a series of curved and tapered metal shapes, which sculptor George Tsutakawa referred to as a “clam shell,” from which water emerges. Opposite the fountain, along the entire west edge of the courtyard, there is a low, gently curving concave wall made of 6”-thick concrete with a wood bench centrally located along it, with the wall forming its back. A smaller, 6’- diameter fountain is situated at the wall’s south end." The Tsutukawa fountain was reinstalled in the new Founders Hall courtyard. (See BOLA Architecture + Planning, Landmark Nomination University of Washington Mackenzie Hall Seattle January 5, 2018, accessed 10/20/2022.)

The builidng's exterior had an unornamented, Modern appearance consistent with curtain-walled skyscrapers of the period. Despite its square proportions, Mackenzie Hall's exterior had a distinct vertical effect as contrasting, precast, concrete piers, 10-inches by 1-foot, 4-inches. slightly projected from the facade and just above the parapet. On the second and third floors, bays between the piers had two sets of steel sash windows above and below which were structural glass panels. In the middle of each bay were 3-foot, 2-inch wide exposed aggregate concrete panels.

From some angles, particularly that of the main entryway, Mackenzie Hall recalled the Illinois Institute of Technology's Crown Hall, desgned by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969). The Chicago building had a more rarified and costly, steel structure, more finely detailed, but its basic proportions and aesthetic of stark regularity were consistent. The floating main entryway of Mackenzine Hall clearly referred to the Mies's IIT building.

Building Notes

In 2009, this was one of five buildings occupied by the Foster School of Business on the Seattle campus and in Kirkland, WA. Although Balmer Hall (built at the same time by the same architects) was demolished in 2010, Mackenzie Hall was preserved during this 2009-2012 Foster School building campaign.


Mackenzie Hall was demolished by Hoffman Construction in 06/2020 in order to erect Founders Hall, completed by Fall 2022.

PCAD id: 8531