Returning to the Cut : Reconnecting the University of Washington to the Water's Edge
Stewart, Tahkeru S.
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The University of Washington was built upon the shores of Lake Washington and Lake Union in 1896 when it moved from its original downtown Seattle location. Given its riparian setting, the University historically maintained a close relationship to its water's edge. Historical campus plans show a university campus set within natural surroundings comprised of trees, shoreline and forest. The following quotation from the Pacific Wave newspaper written a year after the campus established its current location describes this relationship well. "No finer site for a University can be imagined than the present campus of our Alma Mater. Bounded on the one side by far reaching Lake Washington, on the other by Lake Union, it lies like a gem in a setting of silvery waters..." Over the course of its one hundred fifty year history, the University of Washington campus developed and grew to accommodate a growing population and overall development as an institution of higher learning. What began as a campus comprised of a handful of buildings, eventually grew to what it is today - an urban campus with dormitories, office buildings, sports facilities and a power plant. As a result of this growth, the University's connection to the water's edge waned, and at parts disappeared altogether. While the physical location and riparian characteristic of the campus has not changed, the existence of institutional buildings and private businesses along its shores makes it inaccessible to pedestrians and cyclists. The University of Washington campus as it currently stands has effectively been cut off from the very shores on which it was built. This thesis proposes to reconnect the University of Washington to its water's edge through employing the metaphor of "cut and fill" - two violent and powerful operations that shaped the campus in the first place. The campus will be reconnected to the water through a walkway built along the Montlake Cut.
- Architecture