Campus Architecture

Explore Washington University’s historic architecture via our digitized resources.

Featured Digitized Resources

Grotesques (“Gargoyle”) Gallery

According to Russell Sturgis, a gargoyle is:

A water spout, especially one projecting from a gutter and intended to throw the water away from the walls and foundations.

Russell Sturgis, Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture and Building

With few exceptions, the gargoyles at Washington University do not carry water; they are purely decorative. Thus they are not in fact gargoyles. Rather, they are Bosses or Grotesques. We do not know who created the designs for the grotesques at Washington University. Nor do we know the names of the stonecutter(s) who created the images we now see on our campus buildings.

Images courtesy of Joe Angeles, Photo Services Department, W.U. Public Affairs

Grotesques in Graham Chapel

For more information on the history and decoration of Graham Chapel, see our online exhibit, Grotesques, Glass, Graham: Marriage of Masonry.

Other Gargoyle Links

Selections from the Fred R. Hammond Collection

In the mid-1980s, the University Archives received one of its most unique artifacts – a sketchbook containing designs for many of the bosses which adorn our older campus buildings.

This book, along with several historical photographs, was the gift of Fred R. Hammond, an architect who worked for the firm of Jamieson & Spearl, of St. Louis. Jamieson & Spearl was the successor firm of Cope & Stewardson, the firm which designed the Hilltop Campus, and Jamieson & Spearl was responsible for much of the campus’ building program as late as the 1950s.

Samples of pencil sketches from the Fred Hammond Collection