UW’s historic nuclear plant is ‘endangered’

UW’s historic nuclear plant is ‘endangered’

The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation has named UW’s Nuclear Reactor Building as an “most endangered” historic property.

The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation has named UW’s Nuclear Reactor Building as an “most endangered” historic property.

By Seattle Times staff

History buffs and architects who have sought for years to save from demolition a 1961 University of Washington building that once housed a nuclear reactor have one more piece of ammunition.

The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation last week named UW’s Nuclear Reactor Building, known as More Hall Annex, as one of the state’s “most endangered” historic properties.

The vacant concrete building once housed a small, working nuclear reactor surrounded by glass walls. Nuclear operations ended in 1988, and the fuel rods were removed. The state gave UW funds to decontaminate and demolish the structure in 2006.

A new technological force is vying for the space: The Computer Science & Engineering Department, in the nearby 85,000-square-foot Paul G. Allen Center, needs room to expand. More Hall Annex is the closest development site, said Theresa Doherty, UW’s senior project director for the campus master plan.

Read the full story at the Seattle Times . . .

At UW, computer science & nuclear history spar

At UW, computer science & nuclear history spar

Historic Nuclear Reactor Building on UW campus. 

Historic Nuclear Reactor Building on UW campus. 

By Knute Berger

Back in 2008, a group of University of Washington students and preservationists rose up to oppose the demolition of the More Hall Annex on the UW campus. Otherwise known as the Nuclear Reactor Building, the annex is a very cool piece of architecture and history.

Built like a mid-century concrete cabana, the Nuke Building was the result of an unusual collaboration of the university’s top architectural talent of the 1960s — architects Wendell Lovett, Gene Zema and Daniel Streissguth. The trio designed a structure that could safely house a small “teaching reactor” for student nuclear engineers, but also included enough windows to make the secretive process of generating nuclear energy literally more transparent.

It was shedding light on what goes on in the bunker.

Read the full story at Crosscut . . .

Score one for Seattle’s historic nuke site

Score one for Seattle’s historic nuke site

The vacant Nuclear Reactor Building on the University of Washington campus.

The vacant Nuclear Reactor Building on the University of Washington campus.

By Knute Berger

Last Friday (Oct. 2) I received word from state architectural historian Michael Houser of the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation that the University of Washington’sNuclear Reactor Building (More Hall Annex) has officially been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a significant moral victory for preservationists. The saga of the building has been followed here on Crosscut.

Read the full article on Crosscut . . .

UW nuclear-reactor building is added to historic list

UW nuclear-reactor building is added to historic list

By Nick Perry
Associated Press

A University of Washington building that once housed a nuclear reactor has been added to a state list of historic buildings — although the UW still wants to tear it down.

The building’s Friday listing on the Washington Heritage Register represents a victory for former UW student Abby Martin, 26, who recently graduated with a master’s degree in architecture and has been campaigning to preserve the building. The UW wants the land for future construction, most likely an expansion of the College of Engineering.

Read the full story at the Seattle Times . . .

A successful nuclear reaction!

A successful nuclear reaction!

The vacant Nuclear Reactor Building on the University of Washington campus.

The vacant Nuclear Reactor Building on the University of Washington campus.

By Knute Berger

More Hall Annex, otherwise known as the Nuclear Reactor Building at the University of Washington, has reached a critical phase in its history. The UW had wanted to tear the building down last summer but was stymied by the efforts of students and preservationists, led by UW grad student Abby Martin, who mounted an effort to get the structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Read the full article on Crosscut . . .

A rebirth of architectural activism

A rebirth of architectural activism

Hot dogs are served at the University of Washington Nuclear Reactor Building, adorned in red balloons.

Hot dogs are served at the University of Washington Nuclear Reactor Building, adorned in red balloons.

By Knute Berger

University of Washington grad student Abby Martin is trying to get her master’s degree in architecture wrapped up while at the same time championing the UW’s unique old Nuclear Reactor Building (the More Hall Annex), which is slated to be demolished soon. On Friday, May 16, she and supporters threw a barbecue to raise awareness about the building, which could be torn down this summer.

Read the full story on Crosscut . . .

UW building is hot, but is it historic?

UW building is hot, but is it historic?


By Nick Perry
Associated Press

Perhaps it should be called Radiation Ruins. Or the UW Hot House.

It’s an odd relic — a University of Washington building that once housed a nuclear reactor. Now, a UW graduate student is hoping to preserve it by nominating it to the National Register of Historic Places.

The building is unusual — perhaps unique — in that the reactor was surrounded by glass walls so that students could peek in. Many students walking past the empty building these days on their way to the gym or to class have no idea of its history.

Read the full story from the Seattle Times . . .

An historic hot house

An historic hot house

The vacant Nuclear Reactor Building on the University of Washington campus.

The vacant Nuclear Reactor Building on the University of Washington campus.

By Knute Berger

If you thought landmarking a diner that was once a Denny’s is pushing the preservation envelope, how about putting a nuclear reactor building on the National Historic Register? Before you scoff, learn just a bit about a remarkable, little-known modern building in the heart of Seattle. Today, it’s called the More Hall Annex, but when it was built on the University of Washington campus in the early 1960s, it was called the Nuclear Reactor Building. Yes, that’s right: it housed a small, functioning nuclear reactor situated on a prime piece of campus real estate just off Stevens Way with a view toward Union Bay. Today, it’s facing demolition. Ask around, and most people are stunned to learn that there was ever a nuclear reactor on campus, just a short walk from places like the HUB and above the gym, stadium and Burke-Gilman Trail. 

Read the full article on Crosscut . . .