Housing one of the preeminent schools of fishery science, this $27 million building provides leading-edge research facilities while improving communication among faculty. The architecture responds thoughtfully to the university’s master plan as well as to its maritime site near Seattle’s working waterfront.
Defining a one-acre courtyard, the building establishes a strong relationship between the exterior environment and the interior spaces. North and west facades of brick relate in material and scale to existing masonry structures along Pacific Street. Meanwhile, the east and south elevations are mostly transparent, to take advantage of views of the courtyard and Portage Bay. Sunscreens occur at the south and west elevations, changing their nature with solar orientation. A continuous series of clerestory windows at the penthouse level brings natural light into the corridors through a series of articulated light wells.
The building emphasizes space for collaboration: One wing holds faculty offices and laboratories, including an important component of dry labs to support the mathematical modeling of ocean ecosystems and fish population studies. The other wing offers a large convening space that opens to the outdoor courtyard, auditorium and classrooms. The interior gracefully underscores the research subject: Many classrooms have “scales” or “fins” made of aluminum or wood, and the perimeter columns, overhead beams and ductwork in the auditorium mimic the biomorphic shape of a fish spine.