University of Washington Foster School of Business Paccar Hall | LMN Architects

Project Details:
Location: Seattle, Washington – USA
Completion: September 2010 (Phase I) – June 2012 (Phase II)
Client: University of Washington
Architect: LMN Architects –
Project Size: 133,000 gross square feet (Phase I) – 63,000 gross square feet (Phase II)
Project Cost: Phase I: $95 million – Phase II: $46.8 million
Project Team:
Architect: LMN Architects –
General Contractor: Sellen Construction
Civil Engineer: KPFF
Electrical Engineer: Sparling
Mechanical Engineer: Notkin
Structural Engineer: MKA
Landscape Architect: Swift Company
Cost: Davis Langdon
Photography: Nic Lehoux, Graham Syed, Doug Scott

The Foster School of Business is in the midst of a transformation, with a clearly articulated vision to become the top public business school in the nation. The overriding purpose of this multi-phase project is to convert the school’s current collection of outdated facilities-through new construction and renovation-into a cohesive education complex that embodies its educational focus of leadership development, strategic thinking and collaboration. The project includes two new, interconnected buildings: the privately funded 133,000 SF Paccar Hall (Phase I); and a publicly funded 63,000 SF building that replaces 1960’s era Balmer Hall (Phase II). Also included is renovation of the subterranean Foster Business Library, which repositions its primary entrance to link directly with the central activity zone of Paccar Hall.

The design responds to the program’s strong emphasis on social connectivity and its active central campus site with a high degree of porosity—in terms of both visual and functional relationships. A four-story, day-lighted atrium runs the entire length of Paccar Hall. Primary entrances are knitted into the pedestrian flow of the campus, with views, topography and landscape embraced as integrated elements in the architectural experience. The exterior expression is a direct response to the functional needs of modern business education and environmental influences, while responding to adjacent historic campus buildings with compatible materiality, scale and proportion.
Design Approach

At the heart of the Foster School of Business’ transformation is the concept of integrated communities, where the social environment, natural environment and campus landscape are embraced as interrelated influences in the architectural experience. Common areas are organized as a series of interconnected spaces that function in many different combinations—from small groups to large gatherings, encompassing a full spectrum of informal student activities, regular programs and special events.
The central atrium within Paccar Hall works as a collector of community activity and social heart of the school, perceptually as well as functionally. Extensive day-lighting, transparency and views to the surrounding campus and landscape create a sense of openness and connectivity. A modern sensibility of materiality and detail is expressive of the school’s progressive business education philosophy.

Connected to Campus
Transparency – The design for Paccar Hall creates a strong sense of transparency— both visually and functionally. Extensive use of glass (appropriately shielded from direct solar glare) captures abundant daylight throughout the central atrium and common interaction spaces, instilling an overall spaciousness that blurs the distinction between inside and outside.

Connections – The interior spaces, views and entrances are organized to knit together with the landscape, site topography and campus pathways. Both Paccar Hall and the Phase II building will have gracious plazas and a shared courtyard available to the entire campus community, mixing the daily life of the school with that of the campus.

Engagement – Paccar Hall’s outward architectural expression reflects a strong sense of community engagement, the building provides a prominent physical presence at the campus’s ceremonial entrance. Together with the law school, Paccar Hall frames the public approach to historic, tree-lined drive Memorial Way, and its scale, proportion and use of materials are responsive to its historic campus context. The building’s
brick, glass and metal exterior combines a respect for the character of the campus architecture with the school’s forward-looking approach to business education.

Business “Convergence Zone”
Preparing students for the corporate environment of today and into the future necessitates a learning environment that embodies team-based strategic operations, teamwork and relationship-building that are paramount in an increasingly complex global arena. Paccar Hall is a powerful example of how the core dynamic of modern business education can become embedded in the architectural design.
The design provides an ideal environment for fostering collaboration and teamwork. Virtually every aspect of the building invites students to work together and provides technologies to assist them to collectively address business issues, concerns, and problems. For example:

Central “gallery” space – A four-story high, glazed atrium that runs the length of Paccar Hall supports a diversity of group interaction fundamental to business education programs. Classrooms of varying sizes, breakout rooms, student commons, a cafe and covered terrace areas are organized around this central space to interconnect the around-the-clock presence of students, faculty, staff and visitors. From circulation between classes to small-group study sessions, special events, receptions and many other programmed functions, the gallery provides extensive flexibility to adapt to changing needs of the school’s business and education communities.

Tiered, U-shaped classrooms – Designed to cultivate interactive student-to-student discussion, tiered classrooms and associated small breakout rooms are finely tuned to programmatic and technical needs associated with teamwork and relationship building skills—key qualities of successful business leaders . Natural light, with appropriate solar control, is provided to the spaces to enhance quality of space and human

Rooted But Reaching Out
Part of the Foster School’s strategy to become the nation’s top public business school involves leveraging Seattle’s assets—its location on the Pacific Rim and its connection to so many leading-edge companies. The completion of Paccar Hall will bolster the school’s competitiveness, attracting the best and brightest students, the leading minds for faculty, and the top companies as partners for internships and action-learning opportunities. For example:

Variety of spaces for presentations and speaking engagements – Over the course of one quarter, 400 to 500 speakers from the region and around the globe visit the business school. With its new variety of spaces, from 25-seat classrooms to a 250-seat auditorium, the school will be able to tailor the presentation environment for the speaker and the audience.




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