Who We Are
The University of Washington Club is a private, non-profit, dining and social Club located on the University of Washington Seattle campus in a historic and architectural landmark. Alongside typical lunch and lounge services for its members, the Club also hosts and caters numerous events of all kinds.
The UW Club serves a community of membership that includes University of Washington faculty, staff, and retirees. Additional eligible affiliates must be members of the University of Washington Alumni Association, the University of Washington Retirement Association, or a member of the President’s Circle. While the UW Club is affiliated to the UW, the Club is a separate entity from the University and is privately operated.
The UW Club’s long history begins with the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition which was Washington State’s first World’s Fair. Among this fair, which took place on the University of Washington campus, a bungalow styled home was built by a lumberman’s fraternity called The Hoo Hoo Society. This sturdy, handcrafted, wooden home which was designed by early 1900’s Prairie School influenced architect Ellsworth Storey and adorned with imagery of black cats, was used primarily as a place of respite for the lumberman throughout the nearly 5-month long fair. The home was also used for banquets, receptions, and even a few weddings.
After the exposition ended, The Hoo Hoo Society donated the building to the University of Washington and was then used as the Faculty Club. The Club received its original incorporation as a Faculty Club on November 13th, 1909 for a sum of $7.45 paid to the State of Washington. After 50 years of enjoyment, in 1959 the building was razed, and construction began on the building that exists today. What would then be called the University of Washington Faculty Centre, was collaboratively designed by innovative modernist Seattle architects Paul Hayden Kirk and Victor Steinbrueck.
The building was primarily funded by the faculty themselves and completed its construction for roughly $300,000. Featured in the February 1961 edition of Progressive Architecture the building’s then modern design was an intentional departure from the UW’s traditional Gothic style. The magazine states:
“A faculty club, they thought, should have residential scale to encourage casual use and to achieve the aim of bringing the faculty together...their goal was an orderly, intimately scaled building in which space is used as an important design element; a building simple enough in concept and detail to suggest a timeless or undated quality.”
That timeless detail would lead to the building being listed on the National and Washington Heritage Register of Historic Places in 2009 and commemorative recognition from the then Mayor of Seattle Greg Nickels upon the centennial celebration of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. The American Institute of Architects Seattle Chapter and the American Institute of Steel Construction also awarded the Club in recognition of its design in 1960. The building’s name changed to The University of Washington Club in May of 2004.
Through the years, the purpose, the goals, and the relationship between the University and the Club have changed with the ebb and flow of culture and necessity but one thing has remained intact. The Club has always provided social and professional connectivity for its members and guests tailored to the UW experience with a consistently appreciated backdrop of the Pacific Northwest!