ASUW Shell House


17-1009 UW Canoe_Exterior_with graduates

Photo Credits: Rendering, SHKS Architects, 2017

Our Values

UW Recreation is embarking on a $10M capital campaign to restore the historic ASUW Shell House on the Montlake Cut. The building has had many roles over the last century – built by the Navy at the end of WWI, home to UW Crew and master Racing-shell builder, George Pocock until 1949, and the hub of all student water recreation for decades as the ‘Old Canoe House.’ It is an iconic building for our campus and region – an enduring metaphor for what it means to be from the Northwest, and a physical embodiment of our UW values.

ASUW Shell House 1930 5k

Photo Credits: Ronald K. Edge collection, 1930

By restoring this building, we will bring campus back to water. By returning students to the waterfront they will experience an enhanced sense of place and a better understanding of the unique beauty, history and culture that makes our campus definitively unique in the world. By hosting thematic student programming and courses rooted in the building’s innate themes of innovation, collaboration, leadership, and resilience – we will further inspire their learning and growth. Through interactive timelines and exhibits we will invite the community to join us in celebrating our collective histories and accomplishments. This will be a space that will invite campus and the community to reflect upon our past as we continue to propel forward.

A landmark like none other on campus – it will not only be woven into the fabric of every student’s experience, but serve as UW’s beacon on the water, attracting Seattle tourists for generations to come.




What Will It Be?

First, and foremost, a student space full of history and beauty. Curated with our collective histories – tribal, military, commerce, sport, and recreation. Walls and kiosks will guide students and visitors through stories, triumphs, and tragedies that connect us all back to the waterfront.

Courses and lectures for students and faculty will take place here on set days per week, and on the remaining days it will operate like a heritage center – collecting admission for viewing of exhibits and George Pocock’s workshop upstairs. On site will be a small gift shop, and café. Rentable to the public on set evenings, days or weekends for ceremonies, conferences, and events. It will truly be the “front dock” to the UW campus – greeting students, and welcoming the public to experience our rich and complex waterfront history.

17-1031 UW Canoe_Interior 3b_mezzanine v2

Photo Credits: Rendering, SHKS Architects, 2017

How Long Will It Take?

We are estimating 2 years from pre-design, to design-build. Permitting and interpreting the historic elements into the design within guidelines will take the longest. Estimated construction/restoration will be under a year.

How Big Is It?

10,000 square feet, only a few feet from the northeast edge of the Montlake cut. The large cavernous hangar is estimated to seat 350 people.




Fans of Daniel James Brown’s New York Times bestseller The Boys in the Boat, now have a unique opportunity to get an inside look at the legacy of “The Boys.” Join us for a tour through Washington Rowing’s Conibear Shellhouse and the 1918 World War I airplane hangar known to the “Boys” as the ASUW Shell House in 1936.

Watch Rantz, Hume, Moch, and the rest of the ’36 Husky Clipper come to life in this 90-minute tour highlighting the historical regalia of the champion crew in both locations.

The tour will include chances to see the lettermen’s jackets of Joe Rantz and Don Hume, the IRA and Berlin Olympic medals of Joe Rantz, and the famed Husky Clipper shell.

Guests will first be led through Conibear Shellhouse, starting with an inside look at the legacy of George Pocock and the latest generation of Pocock Racing shells. We will proceed through the heart of the boathouse, the erg bays, and finally to the Windermere Cup Dining room to stand under the Husky Clipper and imagine the roar of the crowd as the Clipper took gold in the 1936 Berlin Olympics race in front of Adolf Hitler.

Following the tour through Conibear Shellhouse, guests will have the exclusive opportunity to tour through the ASUW Shell House. Built by the United States Navy in 1918, this airplane hangar is an untouched piece of history, recognized by and listed under the National Register of Historic Places. Tour attendees will enjoy the beauty of the ASUW Shell House while listening to stories of the many eras this incredible landmark has seen (including the famed Husky rowing team in 1936 and the skilled boat builder, George Pocock) over the past 99 years it has graced the shores of the Montlake Cut.




Time: Tours are offered on weekends for up to 35 people.

Cost: $20 per adult, $10 for students (ages 11-17), and free for children 10 and under.

Location: Tours meet in the entry way of Conibear Shellhouse and conclude at the ASUW Shell House.

Please note: Conibear Shellhouse is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The dining room where the Husky Clipper boat is displayed is closed to the public during private events and during student-athletes’ evening meal hours.

Private Boathouse Tours

We offer private boathouse tours outside of public tour hours to better accommodate large groups and varying schedules. Private tours require a minimum of 5 people and cap at 35 people per tour. Tickets for private tours cost $25 per person for a 90 minute private tour. We welcome special requests to customize your group’s exclusive tour experience. Please make these requests in your email at the time of booking. You must make a payment in full, by credit card within 48 hours after the reservation has been made. To schedule a private tour please email Private tours must be scheduled three weeks in advance and are subject to guide availability.