Campus Landmarks

Agriculture Dean’s Residence, 1897 Map
Photo: Agriculture Dean’s Residence The residence on Babcock Drive hails back to the days when the agriculture dean was supposed to live close to the farm operation. The Victorian building housed several generations of deans and their families up to Edwin B. Fred, who stayed in the house after becoming president and president emeritus. The headquarters of the Agricultural Research Stations moved to the building in 1980. Allen Centennial Gardens is next to the residence.
Agricultural Hall, 1903 Map
The hall, located on a hill overlooking Linden Drive and Henry Mall, is the administrative center of the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences. The building symbolizes the college, which has earned an international reputation in many fields of agricultural education and research. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with four other buildings on the agriculture campus.
Art Lofts, 2009, 2012 Map
Renovated in 2012 to optimize workspace, the Art Lofts provide space for instructional labs and studio spaces for the Art Department. Formerly a university warehouse, the Art Lofts houses the glass lab, metal sculpture foundry, ceramics, graduate darkroom and digital facilities, and papermaking areas for faculty and graduate students.
Babcock Hall, 1951 Map
This building, named for Stephen Moulton Babcock (professor of agricultural chemistry 1888-1931), provides a facility for research and advancement of Wisconsin’s dairy industry and offices for the Department of Food Science. The building is most familiar to campus visitors, students and staff as the home of the dairy store, which provides milk, cheese and famous Babcock ice cream.
Bascom Hall, 1859, 1897, 1906, 1926 Map
Photo: Bascom Hall at night Bascom Hall, originally called University Hall and later Main Hall, was constructed in stages. In 1920 it was renamed for John Bascom, president from 1874 to 1887. The architecture is of the Renaissance Revival style. Fire destroyed the ornate dome in 1916. UW-Madison’s administration, including offices for the chancellor, dean of students and the Graduate School, are in Bascom Hall. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a part of the Bascom Hill Historic District.
Biochemistry, 1912, 1938, 1954, 1986, 1998 Map
Built as the Agricultural Chemistry building, it has since been renamed Biochemistry. It is the site of many pioneering research investigations, dating to the 1913 discovery of vitamin A. Most recently, it is where Hector DeLuca isolated, identified and synthesized the hormones derived from vitamin D to treat bone diseases. Wings have been added to keep pace with the need for higher-powered laboratories. The most recent, completed in 1998, provides 200,000 square feet of classroom, office and lab space, and features a distinctive terrazzo-tile floor decorated with designs of molecular structures.
Biotron, 1966 Map
When built, the Biotron was the first research facility of its kind in the world. The building consists of 48 rooms in which atmospheric variables — such as temperature, humidity, pressure and light — can be computer-controlled for experimental purposes. A variety of research is conducted there, from the effects of pollution on plants to diving studies using the facility’s hyperbolic chamber.
Camp Randall Map
During the Civil War, Camp Randall was used as a training ground (the state’s largest Army staging point) and a hospital and stockade for Confederate prisoners. Today it is owned by the university and is the home of intercollegiate athletic and recreational facilities, a small park and the Memorial Arch, completed in 1912. In 2005, the Athletics Department celebrated the completion of nearly five years of renovation on the stadium with a season-long campaign, “Celebrate the Legacy.”
Carillon Tower, 1935, 1973 Map
Photo: Carillon Tower The cumulative gift of graduating classes from 1917 to 1926, the Carillon Tower is 85 feet tall and made of Madison sandstone. More than 56 bells ranging from 15 to 6,800 pounds give the Carillon a complete four-and-a-half octave range. A carillonneur from the School of Music gives Sunday afternoon recitals.
Clinical Science Center, 1975 Map
Built on 75 acres on the campus’s west side, the CSC ranks as the single most financially ambitious building project in state history. The building houses UW Hospital and Clinics, UW Clinical Cancer Center, UW Children’s Hospital and clinical programs for the UW medical and nursing schools. The CSC is home to integrated programs of education, research and health-care delivery.
Dejope Hall, 2012 Map
University Housing opened this new residence hall in fall 2012, naming it dejope (“four lakes), which the Ho-Chunk called the Madison area for thousands of years, acknowledging the four area lakes connected by the Yahara River. Located on the west side of campus near the shores of Lake Mendota, Dejope is the home for 408 students. The building is filled with American Indian art depicting the lakes in many different ways.
Education, 1899, 2010 Map
The gray-brown brick structure, built for the College of Engineering, was gradually taken over by the School of Education in 1939. In 2010, a renovation was completed. The reconstruction of the north façade and a new green vegetated terrace plaza occupy the outdoor space facing Lake Mendota, while the building’s front renovation maintains the building’s historic nature. After the addition of approximately four stories, a basement, and a sub-basement, the School of Education is currently LEED platinum certified and is the first state-owned Energy Star Rated building in Wisconsin.
Elvehjem Museum of Art, 1969-70; Chazen Museum of Art, 2011 Map
Photo: Chazen Museum of Art The museum, made possible by gifts to the UW Foundation, originally was named for Conrad A. Elvehjem, 13th president of the university. It houses the university’s collection of paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures and decorative arts dating from 2300 B.C. to the present. To commemorate a May 2005 $20 million gift from alumni Simona and Jerome A. Chazen, the name of the museum was changed to Chazen Museum of Art. The gift funded a new connection between the original facility and an addition, opened in 2011, that doubled the museum’s gallery, storage and multi-use.
Frederic A. Ogg Hall, 2007 Map
Ogg Hall, which houses 600 first-year and second-year students, opened in 2007, replacing an outdated 13-story building. The new Ogg embodies some of the new popular trends in campus social life, as residents live in “cluster” styles, in which groups of four rooms share a common bathroom.
Genetics-Biotechnology Center, 1995 Map
Completed in winter 1995, the $28 million building provides a modern center for teaching and research for UW-Madison’s biological sciences community. The 80,000 square feet of working space include 41 lab modules, a multimedia auditorium, a computer laboratory and invention space for Wisconsin teachers.
Gordon Dining and Events Center, 2012 Map
The Gordon Dining and Events Center replaced Gordon Commons as the premier dining facility for southeast residence halls. Instead of a traditional cafeteria, the new center offers a marketplace style that allows students to choose from up to 13 dining venues. The facility also features a convenience store, a coffee bar and an ice cream shop. The upper level has event and meeting spaces.
Grainger Hall, 1993, 2008 Map
Grainger Hall, home of the Wisconsin School of Business, opened its doors in fall 1993. Leading-edge instructional technology is incorporated throughout the five-story building. The $40 million facility was built through a combination of public and private funds, including $10 million from David and Juli Grainger and the Grainger Foundation. With an addition in 2008, Grainger houses the business school’s MBA programs.
Hiram Smith Hall, 1891 Map
Site of the early dairy school and said to be the first dairy building in the Western Hemisphere, the hall has distinctive Swiss architectural features. The building is named for a president of the Wisconsin Dairyman’s Association and regent of the university.
King Hall, 1894; Soil Science, 1915 Map
King Hall, built as the Horticulture and Agricultural Physics building, with the addition of the soil science department, is known for contributions to science, engineering and agriculture, particularly in association with Franklin H. King, remembered for developing the circular silo. King was the first professor of agricultural physics in the United States.
Kohl Center, 1998, 2012 Map
Photo: Kohl Center in early evening Named in honor of chief benefactor Herb Kohl, the athletic facility opened in January 1998 and dazzled with its terrazzo tile floors and a front-entrance display of colorful blown glass produced by UW alumnus Dale Chihuly. Now the home for UW men’s and women’s basketball and men’s hockey, as well as commencement and other campus events, the Kohl Center provides state-of-the-art comfort for up to 17,000 spectators.
LaBahn Arena, 2012 Map
Opened in 2012, the LaBahn Arena, located adjacent to the Kohl Center, includes spaces for hockey and swimming — a 90’ x 200’ ice sheet, 4,000 spectator seats, locker rooms, concessions, women’s hockey coaches’ offices, and support services location for men’s and women’s swimming teams.
Lathrop Hall, 1910, 1998 Map
Constructed for women’s physical education classes, the Renaissance Revival building contained a swimming pool in the basement and a gymnasium on the second floor. It became the permanent home for the university’s dance program after dance instruction began on campus in the 1920s. A major renovation, undertaken to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the dance program’s inauguration, created a state-of-the-art performance space and improved studios.
Leopold Hall, 2013 Map
The 172-bed residence hall is designed to increase awareness of thinking, working and living in more sustainable ways. It offers a greenhouse on the fourth floor.
McArdle Memorial Laboratory, 1964 Map
Located in the medical sciences complex off University Avenue, the building has a distinctive design and houses the even more distinctive university cancer research program. The building is named for Michael W. McArdle, a Chicago industrialist who bequeathed early funds for cancer research to the university.
Memorial Library, 1951, 1974, 1990 Map
Dedicated to those who died in America’s wars, Memorial Library is the main research library on campus. Memorial includes the Mills Music Library, the official archives of the university and an extensive rare-books collection. A seven-story addition houses more than 2 million volumes.
Memorial Union, 1928, 1939, 1957, 1966, 2012, 2014 Map
Memorial Union has been called the “living room of campus.” With additions, the Union now includes several dining rooms, theaters, lounges, meeting rooms and game rooms, in addition to the well-known Terrace and the Rathskellar. In 2012, the Memorial Union Reinvestment Project began. Phase I will renovate and enhance the West Wing and fifth floor, making the Union handicapped accessible and creating useful space for programs such as Hoofers, the Union Theater, Craftshop and the Wisconsin Union Directorate. Phase II will focus on the central core and commons wing. The goal of the reinvestment is to preserve this campus icon as one of the most beloved and historic buildings on campus. The design team is working closely with the Wisconsin State Historical Society to preserve the integrity and relevance of the Memorial Union.
Music Hall, 1879 Map
Photo: Music Hall on a winter evening Originally called Assembly Hall because it was the only building with an auditorium large enough to accommodate general assemblies of the faculty and students, Music Hall now is only partially used by the School of Music. The main auditorium was renovated in 1985 and once again is available for speeches and plays. Home of the UW Opera, the building is in the Bascom Hill Historic District.
Nancy Nicholas Hall, 2012 Map
Nancy Nicholas Hall is home to the School of Human Ecology (SoHE). This building expanded project, public, private and general office spaces, teaching and research facilities, and storage. It includes the renovation of the existing SoHE building at 1300 Linden Drive. The new building provides increased the capacity of the preschool facility, space for the Textile Collection and the Gallery of Design, and a technology-rich environment, with classrooms, conference and meeting spaces, and labs and studios.
North (Map) and South (Map) Halls, 1851 and 1855
North Hall was the first building erected by the university, serving as a dormitory for male students. Later it was converted into classroom and office space; in 1966, it became a National Historic Landmark. South Hall has had a variety of uses, including providing a home for the Department of Agriculture and the Hygienic Laboratory. Now, it houses the dean and administrative staff of the College of Letters & Science.
Radio Hall, 1888 Map
Built as the original university heating station, it later housed Mining Engineering. WHA Radio occupied the hall from 1934 to 1972. The building is in the Bascom Hill Historic District.
Red Gym, 1894, 1998 Map
Photo: Aerial view of the Red Gym Built in the Norman style, with Romanesque arches and heavy turrets, the Red Gym was originally intended as an armory and a gymnasium for men’s physical education. For many years, the building was a center for university and city sporting, social, political and cultural events. Junior proms were held at the gym from 1895-1916. UW basketball teams played here from 1911-1930. A fire during the Vietnam protests closed the gym for a few months in 1970. The building was included in the Bascom Hill Historic District in 1974 and, in 1994, was named a National Historic Landmark. In 1995, plans to restore the historic building underwent a massive overhaul. Reopened in 1998, the building serves as a campus icon and the home several student-services offices.
Science Hall, 1888 Map
Built to replace an earlier science building lost to fire, Science Hall is said to be the second U.S. building built with steel-beam construction and the oldest still standing. The architecture is Richardsonian Romanesque. The young Frank Lloyd Wright helped supervise construction. In 1994, the building was named a National Historic Landmark.
Signe Skott Cooper Hall, 2014 Map
The new facility for the School of Nursing, named after a UW graduate who devoted more than 60 years of her life to nursing education, features the latest technology for teaching and collaboration. The two-story building is located just south of the School of Pharmacy.
Union South, 2011 Map
The new Union South, opened in April 2011, is a gathering place for students and a venue for uses ranging from hosting distinguished speakers to accommodating small study groups. Union South, designed with prairie-style architecture in mind, features a number of restaurants, a convenience store, a movie theater and the Wisconsin Union Hotel. During home football weekends, Badger Bash is held at Union South, bringing together fans, foods and the UW band — and creating energy — before the football game.
Van Hise Hall, 1967 Map
At 19 stories, Van Hise is the tallest building on campus. The University of Wisconsin System offices are on the top floors. Several foreign language departments make their homes here, and the lower five floors house classrooms.
Washburn Observatory, 1879, 2009, 2012 Map
Photo: Washburn Observatory The gift of former Wisconsin governor and Board of Regents member Cadwallader C. Washburn, the Washburn Observatory had at the time of its construction the third largest refractory telescope in the nation. The first telephone line in Wisconsin ran from Washburn to Music Hall for setting the clocks. Washburn is still used for teaching and is open to the public on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. The nearby office building was built about 1855 as a home for the university’s presidents. The observatory and the office building are listed on the National Register. In early 2012, an antique instrument specialist completed the cleaning and refurbishment of the glass lenses and the brass cell that holds them in the 240-inch-long telescope tube.
Wisconsin Energy Institute, 2013 Map
The Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI) houses research and administration functions for the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center and the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative. Aimed at leading the development of clean energy, WEI provides state-of-the-art lab space and opportunities for collaboration and commercialization. The building is designed to meet sustainable standards and will reduce annual energy use by over 50 percent.
Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 2010 Map
The Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, opened in December 2010, is home to a unique public-private partnership with two world-class research institutions. They include the Morgridge Institute for Research, a private, nonprofit research institute, and the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, a public institute operated by the university. The eco-friendly facility brings together scientists from multiple disciplines such as the arts, social sciences, business and law.