Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Eastvold Chapel/ Auditorium

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Institution Name: Pacific Lutheran University
Original/Historic Place Name: Chapel-Music-Speech Building
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction:
1951-1952original construction Lea, Pearson & Richards
Designer: Lea, Pearson & Richards (Tacoma, WA)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival, Modern/post-WWII (Glossary)
Significance: culture, education, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: reinforced concrete and steel
Walls: concrete, face brick veneer
Roof: asphalt flat surface on concrete
ca. 1952chapel
ca. 2004-present (2006)faculty offices (humanities; business)
ca. 2004-present (2006)auditorium
ca. 2004-present (2006)other (KPLU radio, station associated with National Public Radio)

The Chapel-Music-Speech building, completed in 1952, was the crowning achievement of an accelerated campus building program. Built of concrete and steel with brick-faced veneer and stone cast trim, it is 231' x 154' in size.

The building is T-shaped with the leg of the T housing an auditorium that seats 1,200 people. The top of the T houses offices and classrooms. On the third floor is Tower Chapel (seats 100), which includes a "Rose Window," a circular art-glass window 8' in diameter containing art symbols of the church. The Rose Window symbol is also the official logo for the university. A six-sided spire above the auditorium extends 115' above the ground and is surrounded by a 7' stainless steel cross set on top of a stainless steel ball 2' in diameter. The building was renamed for president Seth C. Eastvold upon his retirement in 1962.

From 1952-1971, Eastvold Chapel was the center for all activities on campus, including drama and music festivals, performances by musical choirs, theater performances, daily chapel services, and lectures. The Joffrey Ballet performed here as part of their summer residence at PLU.

After Ingram Hall (1971) and the Mary Baker Russell Center (1991) were built, the Communication Arts department and the music department were relocated, and most of the departments' activities and performances ceased to be held in Eastvold Auditorium. The building now houses faculty offices for the humanities and business as well as well as the offices of KPLU-FM radio station.

A fundraising effort is now underway for the Eastvold Hall Restoration and Expansion. The plans are for the Division of the Humanities to be together under one roof, for a state-of-the-art "Black Box Theater," and for better facilities for KPLU.


Nordquist, Philip A. Educating for Service: Pacific Lutheran University, 1890-1990. Tacoma, WA: Pacific Lutheran University, 1990.

Schnackenberg, Walter C. The Lamp and the Cross: Sagas of Pacific Lutheran University, from 1890-1965. Tacoma, WA: Pacific Lutheran University, 1965.


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Last update: November 2006