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Architecture & Engineering

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May 24, 2013

University of Washington Russell T. Joy Building

Photo by Lara Swimmer Photography [enlarge]
The building serves as an entrance to the pedestrian thoroughfare that runs behind it along Commerce Street.

Location: Tacoma

Architect: THA Architecture

Agency/owner: University of Washington Tacoma

GC/CM: Korsmo Construction

Located in the heart of a dynamic downtown, the University of Washington Tacoma is responsible for transforming the Union Depot-Warehouse Historic District into a modern urban university and vibrant retail neighborhood.

The restored and revitalized Russell T. Joy Building, constructed in 1892, signified the completion of UWT’s face along Pacific Avenue. The $19.5 million renovation includes classrooms, lecture halls and a new department office suite, as well as retail spaces along Pacific Avenue.

The renovated building not only addresses the growth needs of UWT; it creates community with informal gathering and studying spaces facing the pedestrian throughway and classrooms with views to the active streetscape and Tacoma’s historic railroad station.

Extensive reuse of materials, such as large timbers refashioned into benches and doors, bring a rich and distinct character to the space and immerse occupants in the buildings’ history.

The building is the first LEED platinum-certified project in Tacoma and in the entire University of Washington system.

Jury comment: “This project is exciting, in part, because of the way the railway was used as the spine of the campus. This building originally had a street presence on the main street. This design flips that and amazing things were done to the back side of the building to create a spectacular change.”

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