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Historic Architectural Drawings Fund

Preservation of the Pacific Northwest Architecture Archive

Pacific Northwest Architectural Archive

During the rehabilitation of the Pioneer Building in the 1960s, architect Elmer Fisher’s original drawings from 1889 were discovered. Seattle architects Victor Steinbrueck and Paul Hayden Kirk gave these valuable materials to the University of Washington Libraries. This discovery prompted discussions between Norman Johnston, Victor Steinbrueck, and the UW Libraries to begin building a collection of original materials to support students studying architecture and document the changes occurring across Seattle.

Thanks to their foresight, the UW Libraries is now the Pacific Northwest’s largest repository for historical architectural drawings. This robust collection includes:

  • Examples of Pacific Northwest Modernism, with archives of Paul Hayden Kirk, Paul Thiry and Wendell Lovett;
  • Proposals for the Century 21 World's Fair held in Seattle in 1962; and
  • UW student drawings from the 1920s and 30s, with elaborate watercolor renderings by Elizabeth Ayer, the first woman architect to be licensed in the state of Washington; and Minoru Yamasaki, who would go on to design the World Trade Center in New York.

Students, scholars, and architects use these resources. Every time someone unrolls a drawing, often on fragile tracing paper or vellum, it causes wear. To safeguard these documents for future generations, we are now seeking funds to support the preservation of our historic architecture collections.

“It’s vital that we recognize the importance of preserving our drawings in the Architectural Archive at UW Libraries,” says Betty Wagner, librarian emeritus and former head of the UW Architecture and Urban Planning Library (now Built Environments Library). “Having access to these cultural touchpoints in perpetuity will have a huge impact on the architectural community for years to come.”

You can take part in preserving our Pacific Northwest architectural history

We ask you to support to the Historic Architectural Drawings collection by making a gift to the University of Washington Libraries.

    Thanks to you, we will continue connecting people with knowledge by preserving the heritage of our region.