“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”

ASUW Render

Our Values

The ASUW Shell House stands as a metaphor for what we can accomplish and what matters. We have an opportunity before us – especially now, with the “The Boys in the Boat” movie in production and director George Clooney preparing to tell our 1936 Olympic story, our Washington story, to the world. We hope you’ll join us in restoring it, optimizing it, and making it the place for students, Huskies and all Pacific Northwesterners to gather and honor the past while building a better future.

Our $18.5 million capital campaign will restore the historic ASUW Shell House on the Montlake Cut and create a learning and gathering space for students and the community. This effort builds upon the century-old Shell House’s many layers of Northwest history – tribal, military, aviation, sport, and recreation.

Built by the Navy at the end of World War I, the Shell House was home to UW crew and master racing-shell builder, George Pocock until 1949. For decades, it was the hub of all student water recreation 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.


A Space for Students and Learning

By restoring this building, we will bring our campus back to water. Students will experience an enhanced sense of place and a better understanding of the unique beauty, history and culture that makes our campus 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 space will invite the 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 the UW’s beacon on the water, attracting Seattle residents and tourists for generations to come.

Students in space

“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, two-time Olympian, silver medalist, author, and Seattle Storm co-owner     


Join us in making history

“This project is about legacy and destiny. A physical reminder of many historical milestones on our path to success as an institution.”

– Jodi Green, past chair, UW Foundation Board

We want to acknowledge the lands and waters where the ASUW Shell House rests, stəx̌ʷugʷił (stukh-ug-weelth) ‘Carry a Canoe’ in southern Lushootseed – land of the Duwamish, ‘the people of the inside’, and all the Coast Salish people. It is the land which touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Suquamish, Tulalip and Muckleshoot nations.