Buildings to aid sciences, business, art, engineering

As the University of Washington celebrates 100 years at its present campus, its buildings and grounds continue to evolve through new construction.

Both private and state funds have gone into many of the new buildings. Most structures are designed to fit the context of our Collegiate Gothic architecture.

In April, officials dedicated the new Chemistry Building, a structure attached to Bagley Hall that faces “Frosh Pond.” The $40 million project, designed by Moore Rubell and Yates, is a 108,000-square-foot structure clad in brick that includes a breezeway between the new building and Bagley.

The University couldn’t afford to renovate Bagley to meet environmental and technological standards, so the new building holds high-end laboratories and includes 200 stainless-steel fume hoods, each with an individual exhaust vent.

At the dedication, former Executive Vice President Tallman Trask noted that since the building is adjacent to “our beloved main axis,” Rainier Vista, the UW had given the architects “our best site,” and that they were up to the task. “The building is genuinely admired inside and out. It is a handsome addition, beautifully detailed. Above all, it works as a chemistry building.”

Directly across from the Chemistry Building, construction has begun on a new Computer Science/Electrical Engineering Building at a cost of $98.6 million.

Built in two phases, the project includes almost 300,000 square feet of new space and about 100,000 of renovated space in the old Electrical Engineering Building. The building fits other campus architecture through its brick façade, gabled roof line and slate roof.

One of its most unusual features is a central atrium that extends through most of the building and allows for a great deal of natural light. The building’s layout should foster interchange between the two departments. Its modular design also allows for flexibility as new technology makes unforeseen demands on its physical plant.

Both buildings were financed through state bonds as part of the UW’s capital budget. A third science building, the Biological Sciences Resources Building, was financed through bonds based on revenue from federal grants.

The School of Medicine opened its $71.5 million Biological Sciences Research Building in May. The 224,000-square-foot addition is at the west end of the Health Sciences Center complex, just south of Hitchcock Hall. This beige-tiled, pre-cast concrete structure has six above-grade stories and a basement level. Most floors have 10 large laboratories plus a support area and offices.

The building is the School of Medicine’s first significant expansion for research in more than 20 years. It holds the new Department of Molecular Biotechnology headed by Dr. Leroy Hood. Other research groups include Alzheimer’s disease labs, a genetic medicine center and a neural signaling center.

Not all new construction is for high-tech departments. A $16.3 million complex of three buildings for the School of Business Administration is going up along Stevens Way west of Balmer Hall.

The Foster Library will be a ground-level expansion of the business library featuring a distinctive skylight for natural lighting. Next door will be two sites for executive education: the Boeing Auditorium and Seafirst Executive Education Center. The auditorium will hold about 125 students; the education center has four levels of offices and classrooms, including the fourth-floor James B. Douglas Executive Forum, a central meeting/gathering area.

The architects have taken steps to blend the building into existing campus styles, says Business Senior Associate Dean Gerhard Mueller. The building materials include warm brick, beige pre-cast concrete and slate. The cost of the three structures is covered through a match of public and private dollars. The complex is scheduled to open in the fall of 1996.

The arts are being blessed with a new wing to the Henry Art Gallery, designed by New York Architect Charles Gwathmey, who also designed the new addition to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan. The new wing is being built at the west edge of campus where it meets Campus Parkway, just below the statue of George Washington. The entire gallery must be closed during the construction.

When it opens in early 1997, the new Henry’s exhibit space will grow from 5,000 to 14,000 square feet. The wing will also feature a 150-seat auditorium, children’s art studio, school group facilities and up-to-date storage space for the museum’s permanent collection of 18,000 pieces, worth more than $25 million.

The $17.3 million addition is financed through both public and private funds. The private money is part of the $25 million Campaign for the New Henry, which is also raising money for an endowment to support the art museum’s programs and exhibits.