UW Tacoma Phase 1A

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The first phase of construction at UW Tacoma, along with the master plan for campus construction, earned nationwide recognition for architectural excellence and historic preservation. The project received the 1999 Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design from the American Institute of Architects and an award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The project included renovating six historic warehouses with 133,000 square feet of space. Phase 1A opened in 1997. Four historic warehouses are connected by a main hallway. The project includes multipurpose classrooms, offices and atriums that provide gathering space. Architects: Moore Ruble and Yudell of Santa Monica, Calif., in association with LMN Architects of Seattle Phase 1A construction cost: $31 million

Garretson Woodruff Pratt

Constructed in 1890, this building served as a warehouse for a thriving dry goods wholesaler called Garretson Woodruff Pratt. Less than five years after the building was finished, the company collapsed in the depression of the mid-1890s. The building, which houses classroom space as well as faculty offices, the Chancellor’s Office and Enrollment Services, features some of the finest ornate terra cotta detailing in Tacoma’s historic warehouse district.

Birmingham Block

The historic Birmingham Block warehouse building, originally constructed in 1893, was renovated to provide classroom space. It houses the campus’s interactive distance-learning facilities. Birmingham Hay and Seed The Birmingham Hay and Seed building, built in 1903, was renovated to include classroom space, including high-tech “smart” classrooms, as well as student computer kiosks.

West Coast Grocery

The 1891 West Coast Grocery warehouse building was renovated to include faculty and program offices and classroom space. The building also houses the West Coast Grocery convenience store and a student lounge.

Walsh Gardner

This large warehouse was designed by Carl August Darmer, the city’s foremost early architect, and built in 1911, the same year as Tacoma’s Union Station. Walsh Gardner houses classrooms, computer labs, faculty offices, Computer Services office, a language lab and video lab classrooms.


The UW Tacoma Library reading room, a classic brick building with high, arched windows, was built in 1902 as a transformer house for the Snoqualmie Falls Power Company. This transformer house continued in service until 1958, when it was converted into a warehouse. Architects added on to the transformer house, which still holds infrastructure once used to move heavy equipment, with new construction to create the Library. In addition to books and other materials, the library provides access to the collections of the entire University of Washington Library system.