The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.

Through the years: University of Saskatchewan architecture

By in Culture/Features


The first greystone laid during construction of the U of S Administration Building, still visible on campus on Feb. 25, 2019. It was laid by the seventh Prime Minister of Canada, Sir Wilfred Laurier.
An animal carved into the exterior of the U of S Administration Building photographed on Feb. 25, 2019. Walter Murray requested local fauna be carved into the walls, but the stone masons doing the carving were unfamiliar with the animals, therefore making inaccurate renderings.

The first president of the University of Saskatchewan, Walter Murray, was impressed by the Gothic Collegiate style of architecture used at the Washington University campus in St. Louis, which led him to select architects to design the U of S in the same Gothic Collegiate style. The first Master Plan was created by the architectural firm of David Brown and Hugh Vallance, both from Montreal. These two architects designed almost all of the U of S buildings from 1909 to 1929 in the traditional Gothic Collegiate style. They decided to make use of a local dolomitic limestone, known informally as “greystone.” They broke ground in 1909, and construction began with the College Building.


The U of S Thorvaldson Building, designed by architect David Brown, photographed on Feb. 25, 2019.


The stock market crashed in Canada, and construction plans were interrupted. At this moment in time, there were roughly 1,500 full-time students on campus.


Veterans were returning home after World War II, and construction on campus subsequently resumed. Between 1946 and 1970, 30 building projects were completed. By 1947, there were over 4,300 students attending the university full-time.


Between 1954 and 1957, a new plan was adopted and the original 1909 plan was abandoned. The architecture firm of Izumi, Arnott & Sugiyama made new plans to accommodate the increasing university traffic. The Arts Building marked a distinct change in style for U of S buildings as these new architects decided to use a cleaner, more repetitive and functionalist approach, formally known as the modernist style.


The Arts Building by Shore & Moffat Architects photographed on Feb 25, 2019. Four additional floors were added in 1964, making it an eleven-story building and the tallest one on campus.


The interior of the Law-Commerce Complex by architects Holliday-Scott & Paine photographed on Feb. 25, 2019. This building uses principles of modernism without being as repetitive as pure modernist structures like the Arts Building.

1988 to 1991

Large windows allow the sun to cut through the centre of the U of S Agriculture Building on Feb. 25, 2019. This style drastically counters the nearly windowless exteriors of the Murray Building, colloquially known as Murray Library

Riley Deacon / Photo Editor

All photos by Riley Deacon / Photo Editor

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