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May 24, 2013

UW West Campus Housing (phase one)

Photo by Benjamin Benschneider [enlarge]
Buildings are clad in manganese flashed brick.

Location: Seattle

Architect: Mahlum

Agency/owner: University of Washington

General contractors: Walsh Construction Co. (Poplar and Alder halls); W.G. Clark Construction Co. (Cedar Apartments and Elm Hall)


Connectivity and paths worn by pedestrian traffic influenced the form and place-making of four city blocks of University of Washington student housing.

Clad in manganese flashed brick, the buildings were figuratively carved away to reveal public and community spaces expressed in curtainwall, wood and weathering steel. A restaurant, market and conference center break down barriers between the university and the greater public. Elevated above grade, yet highly visible, the residential commons, study rooms and terraces are reserved for use by the students they serve.

High-technology systems, unusual materials and complex building forms were eschewed in favor of wood-over-concrete-podium construction commonly used in the multifamily market. Designs were then pushed to the limits to deliver integrated sustainability on a modest budget.

All of the buildings are seeking LEED certification.

Jury comment: “The building design is good but the urban design of this challenging project is excellent. The sitting areas and other public space details are meaningful and the public connections at the large and small scale really work.”


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