The addition/renovation project manifests the vision of the Industrial & Engineering Technology Department for an interdisciplinary environment dedicated to hands-on, team-based experimentation with heavy industrial tools and shop equipment. A key focus is the emerging "green" economy of the Pacific Northwest Region, and training students to think in terms of sustainable design and management of industrial operations.
The design combines elements of communal space for interdisciplinary mixing and team-based learning, with an exposed industrial materiality that accommodates heavy equipment and demonstrably illustrates sustainable building systems in action. Centralized circulation corridors encourage informal and spontaneous exchange between program spaces, including furnished lounges with stainless steel bulletin boards. Classrooms and workshops are filled with daylight, and organized to provide flexibility and efficient moving and layout of large equipment. Polished concrete flooring and a bold yellow wall treatment recall industrial environments while maintaining an educational context. The building's "working roof" provides space to assemble and test a variety of wind turbines and photovoltaic technologies, capitalizing on Central Washington University's location in the driest and windiest part of the state. Examples of sustainable design measures that are transparent to student research include solar pre-heating of air and water; radiant floor and chilled beam heating/cooling systems; equipment heat recovery; external sunshades to control solar gain; and use of reclaimed construction materials. The connecting knuckle between wings forms a double-height gallery for student work, clad in recovered wood from shipping crates and tying together the social environment of both classroom levels.