Miller Hull

The Thinking Hand Exhibit, Gould Gallery

University of Washington, Seattle, WA
The hand is the window on to the mind Immanuel Kant
Completion 2017


For nearly a century, the University of Washington College of Built Environments has sought to educate the next generation of built environments professionals, engage in cutting edge research, and serve our community. As the CBE prepares for the next 100 years, the hope is to enhance their educational mission by augmenting the College’s physical space. The creation of the Gould Pavilion, including its three multipurpose galleries and a studio/classroom, enables the college to better educate students, showcase their successes, discover new work, and promote opportunities for engagement with the community in a cross-disciplinary environment.

Gould Pavilion repurposes the double height entry corridor at the east end of Gould Hall into 1000 square feet of instructional space and 1300 square feet of secure gallery space. These new spaces further our core educational and strategic mission in ways that we are not currently able to achieve.

The Thinking Hand

Bob Hull was a true “citizen artist.” Everything he did was original and highly creative, and in his own style. He was highly curious about all manner of things. All things were aesthetic (except maybe his clothes). His ideas revolved around substance, not style. He was an inventor and kept coming back over and over to the same themes until he could build them or get someone else to. A highly intuitive man who trusted his intuition. He thought through his drawings – they were a means for him to contemplate great things.

Many of the projects featured in this exhibit can be found in monographs, illustrated with clean precise drawings and tidy diagrams that describe the project from idea to building. This exhibit tells the story of the process behind the project: the frustration, breakthroughs, good ideas and bad ideas along the way.

When Bob passed away unexpectedly in 2014, the process of archiving his work led to the discovery of hundreds upon hundreds of sheets of trace, filled with sketches from all stages of the design process, an archive of thoughts, a window into the inner workings of his mind.

What he drew was what he was thinking, and the character of his drawings are very much the character of who he was; serious but not too serious, prolific and endlessly curious in the pursuit of the right solution. Looking at all the drawings behind his projects, every sketch, not just the final versions, offers a unique opportunity to understand the process in which he worked. Juhani Pallasmaa describes the hand as a partner to the eye and the brain. This was very true of Bob. Drawing was a medium for having a conversation, and for developing ideas for him,not just representing them. This exhibition is a record of his hand.