Award of Excellence
An Advocacy Award of Excellence is given to Eugenia Woo, who has devoted her professional career to the important, and sometimes frustrating, fight to save our modern heritage. As Historic Seattle’s Director of Preservation Services since 2009, she leads the organization’s advocacy efforts, fighting the good fight to “save Seattle’s soul.” She develops and implements historic preservation policies and initiatives, provides technical assistance, engages in community outreach, and coordinates and leads advocacy efforts, many times for resources that are lesser known: Brutalism, landscapes, and those by unknown designers. As co-founder of Docomomo US/WEWA (Western Washington), she most notably led the high-profile effort to save the University of Washington’s (UW) Nuclear Reactor Building, a significant Brutalist building listed in the National Register that was unloved by the University. Although the building was lost, the University filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle and Docomomo US/WEWA (with Historic Seattle and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation as intervening parties) maintaining that as a state institution of higher learning, it was not subject to the Landmarks Preservation Ordinance. This led to a precedent-setting Washington State Supreme Court case that determined the University must abide by the City’s Landmark Preservation Ordinance when they embark on projects that impact historic resources. Under Eugenia’s direction, the WEWA chapter launched a new website (docomomo-wewa.org) in 2020 that serves as an invaluable resource for regional designers, sites, and threatened properties. Due to her leadership, the chapter continues to support students in researching a variety of modern topics, produce public programs, and advocate for the preservation of significant modern places.
“Eugenia has been active in advocacy in Seattle and the northwest for more than twenty years. She has achieved remarkable results especially with the Washington State Supreme Court case, setting an important precedent for preservation efforts nationwide.”