University of Washington, Seattle, WA
University of Washington, Seattle, WA



United States

University of Washington, Seattle

This university was founded in 1861 in downtown Seattle. In 1893 the university regents purchased 160 acres in Union Bay for the development of a new campus. Professor A. H. Fuller implemented a campus plan in 1900 by arranging buildings in a simple oval facing a central lawn. In 1903 the university hired the Olmsted Brothers firm to create a new plan. The firm redesigned the oval as the Arts Quadrangle (now the Liberal Arts Quadrangle) and installed the Science Quadrangle to the south. In 1906 the state chose this campus as the site of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. John Charles Olmsted and James Dawson created a system of avenues that linked circular courtyards and lush gardens to frame the Neoclassical buildings planned under John Galen Howard, architect for the exposition. The design’s centerpiece, the Geyser Basin, anchors the Science Quadrangle. Iconic, open vistas provide views of Mount Rainer, Lake Washington, and Lake Union. In 1911 the Olmsted Brothers created a campus plan that integrated the exposition grounds. That plan was rejected in favor of a design known as the Regents Plan, by architect Carl Gould, that reduced the scale of the Olmsted Brothers’ quadrangles while maintaining the principal axes and views. The Regents Plan placed a library plaza, named the Central Plaza, at the convergence of the quadrangles. In 1961 the high-spouting Drumheller Fountain replaced Geyser Basin at the head of the Rainer Vista.

Today, the campus reflects both the Olmsted and Regents Plans. Red Square serves as the institution’s academic core. Four radial axes including Memorial Way, the Liberal Arts Quadrangle, the Olympic Vista, and the Rainer Vista extend from the core connecting the plaza. These plans have continued to serve as an armature for campus expansion with the introduction of new greens, gardens, courtyards, buildings, and wetlands.

Location and Nearby Landscapes

Nearby Landscapes