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Male, born 1918-12-03, died 2015-03-16

Professional History


Served in the Signal Intelligence Corps in Alaska during World War II; he also served in Military Personnel, doing administration, 1942-1945; Architect, Nelsen and Sabin, Seattle, WA, 1954-1956;


Assistant Professor, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, 1956-1958; Assistant/Associate/Full Professor/Associate Dean, University of Washington, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Seattle, WA, 1960-1989. Johnston worked for one-half of his time in College of Architecture Administration, one-half on the teaching faculty. He became an expert on the history of the University of Washington Campus, publishing several books on the subject. Johnston also became an authority on the development of the Department of Architecture and the later College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

Professional Service

Member, University of Washington, Seattle, Landscape Advisory Committee; Member, University of Washington, Seattle, Architectural Commission; City of Seattle, Planning Commission, 1950-1954;

Professional Awards

Fellow, American Institute of Architects (FAIA), 1982. Inductee, University of Washington, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Roll of Honor, 2007.


Johnston's papers are housed at the University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections Division.



B.A., University of Washington, Seattle (UW), WA, 1942; as a freshman at the UW, he was a classmate in architecture with Frederick Forde Bassetti (b. 1917). Johnston later transferred to the Art Department at the UW. B.Arch., University of Oregon (U of O), Eugene, OR, 1949; M.Urb. Planning, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 1959; Ph.D. in Environmental History, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 1964; Thesis topic: The Career of Harlan Bartholomew;



Born in Seattle, lived in Olympia, WA, early 1920s; family lived in Olympia, WA. He attended high school in Olympia. Johnston lived in Horizon House, First Hill, Seattle, for the last years of his life.


His parents were Jay Johnston and Helen Shultis Johnston; his father worked as a building supervisor, employed by construction firms; both parents were from Waukesha, WI; his father came to Seattle, WA, during the 1910s, but returned to WI to marry in 1914. Jay Johnston came back to Seattle and, subsequently, Olympia, WA, to live. He worked for Stone and Webster, the Boston construction firm, on Snoqualmie Dam.


Johnston married the architect Jane Hastings (b. 03/03/1928) in 1969; she became a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) in 1980; she served as the first woman President of the Seattle Chapter of the AIA and the first Chancellor for the AIA College of Fellows;

Biographical Notes

Johnston considered attending Columbia University before he finally decided on graduate study at Penn. He traveled globally following World War II, photographing buildngs and sites for his architectural history classes. Many of these images were donated by him to the College of Built Environments, Visual Resources Collection.

Associated Locations

  • Seattle, WA (Architect's Birth)
    Seattle, WA

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PCAD id: 4560