Connecting community on the water

From innovators to aviators to Olympic champions, UW students and the community have long come together at the ASUW Shell House to do great things. The 1936 Olympic team trained here, and their triumph reminds us how our collective strength is greater than the sum of individual efforts. Their story is the story of our region — a place where, despite challenges and hardships, we continue to change the world together.

“I see this building as a reminder of who we are and what we value, and also as a kind of icon of Seattle’s identity – a monument, a museum, a workspace, a gathering place on the water where we can pull together, to collaborate, to innovate, and to celebrate our unique identity.”
— Daniel James Brown, author, “The Boys in the Boat”

Since time immemorial, the ASUW Shell House has been a place to unite and accomplish together. The location was central to the culture and survival of the Coast Salish people. For WWI aviators, it was a place for learning and becoming a team before joining the war effort. It was the workshop site for legendary boat-builder George Pocock and the birthplace of the UW Rowing Program. And for Joe Rantz — a member of the 1936 Olympic-gold-winning UW team that inspired Daniel James Brown’s “The Boys in the Boat” — it was the first real home he had ever known. In the decades that followed the ASUW Shell House had many uses, including as an apartment and a community hub for water recreation.

The University of Washington is dedicated to maintaining the ASUW Shell House’s richly textured history that represents innovation, teamwork, leadership and resilience. The ASUW Shell House celebrates the UW’s legacy of connection to the water and the Pacific Northwest.

“Bigger than a university, more expansive than a single sport’s ethos, steeped in history, the completed renovation will serve as a meeting place for all cultures, a locus for the rituals of celebration, core expressions of our shared humanity.”
— Ginny Gilder, American rower and Olympic silver medalist, author, and Seattle Storm co-owner

The ASUW Shell House is a monument to the history of this place of gathering and accomplishment. When renovated, the facility will once again be a place to unite on the water’s edge, where the campus and community can celebrate our shared legacy as we move ever forward, together.

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The University of Washington acknowledges the Coast Salish people of the lands and waters where the ASUW Shell House rests — land that touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Suquamish, Tulalip and Muckleshoot nations.