At the University of Washington, Denny Hall has been awaiting revitalization for nearly a decade. During that time, Hacker has been working on and off again to get UW the final product. The project has gone through funding stalls and starts; the design firm has gone through two name changes; and the building has patiently awaited its new core.
When originally constructed in 1895, the University had purchased the 580 acres the campus currently sits on for a total of $28,314. Construction of Denny Hall, the first building on their new campus, was awarded for a mere $112,000 (or the inflation equivalent of $3 million by today’s figures). As the first building on their new campus, its construction brought lots of excitement – the placement of the cornerstone brought a crowd of 1,000 onlookers! The building, designed as an interpretation of French Renaissance, was a true art of masons, craftsmanship and design, boasting a beautiful cast iron grand staircase, six large skylights, six large fireplaces, tile and marble wainscoting, and detailed woodworking throughout. Even the original hand drafted architectural plans are beautiful and ornate.
Unfortunately, in the 1950s the building underwent an invasive retrofit to provide the University staff members more space. The project carved out the interior in full, adding floor levels and reconstructing circulation to effectively remove all of the beautiful interior elements original to the building. The University even considered demolishing the structure, but decided they could not afford the additional cost. When the project began, Hacker was excited to enter into this effort to restore the interior to the quality level that had been stripped away.
This past July, construction officially began on the $34 million renovation, which will be the last in the University’s Restore the Core projects to be completed. As the 1950s interior is slowly removed and the original building is revealed, the team’s excitement for the project increases. Each level that is uncovered provides new discoveries that have existed below the surface for a hundred years. We are thrilled to watch as the building is revealed and hope to provide the University of Washington with an interior that rivals the craft and dedication of the original design.
Historic consultant: Peter Meijer Architects
Structural: PCS Structural Solutions
Landscape: Site Workshop
Civil: Coughlin Porter-Lundeen
Mechanical / Plumbing: Glumac
Electrical: Travis Fitzmaurice