The Washington State University Everett is the first building of a new WSU branch campus, significantly expanding access to STEM-focused higher education in North Puget Sound. The building creates a strong, distinct identity to singularly define the campus today while establishing the architectural language and planning precedent for the campus’ future. The building design and campus planning it insinuates allude to visual and circulatory tenets of Everett Community College (EvCC), across the street; WSU Everett’s curriculum bridge’s the two-year degrees offered by EvCC, enabling these two institutions to offer a comprehensive path
to WSU bachelors and graduate degrees. WSU Everett’s beautiful, flexible, and LEED-Gold certified high-performance space will enrich the region’s tech corridor for decades to come.
The building’s form and orientation create three distinct responses to the site and existing context: One, the building’s west edge fronts the busy neighborhood arterial, North Broadway, declaring the hope and innovation the building signifies for the area. It establishes an architectural and material precedent, references for ensuing campus buildings. Two, the south court includes a broad plaza marking the building’s primary entry, and the southern façade defines the nascent edge of a future central quadrangle. Three, to the north, a paved courtyard, flanked on two sides by engineering labs, provides space for outdoor learning and events.
The building’s interior circulation extends campus-scaled strategies. A four-story atrium, Innovation Forum—the heart of the building—forms a north-south interior street connecting two primary entry points, one along Broadway Ave. and another along the façade defining the first edge of the campus quadrangle. The Forum includes key student support elements, with multiple “storefronts” for student services, a tiered lecture hall, a media-rich classroom, and Capstone Studio—a lab for student-industry innovation and technology transfer. Its cantilevered wood staircase, handcrafted locally of regional materials, references the storied history of the Pacific Northwest timber industry and demonstrates the use of renewable resources and advanced manufacturing technologies.
A typical floor on the east side of the Forum includes classrooms, engineering labs, and student seminar rooms. Designing the building through modules optimizes lab planning and instructional spaces for flexibility and adaptability. To the Forum’s west, faculty offices and conference rooms surround a well-lighted, active triangular atrium.
The LEED-Gold WSU Everett’s energy performance serves as a future-development baseline. Its thermal envelope exceeds State energy code standards by 10%, and a low-energy VRF system conditions classroom and faculty wings. Mechanically operable windows and louvers naturally ventilate the Forum. During winter months, the Forum’s hydronic radiant floor reuses heat energy harvested from the building data center. A 75 kW array of rooftop photovoltaics, a dramatic building cornice, cantilevers beyond the south façade. Below the Capstone Studio, a 20,000-gallon cistern captures rainwater, meeting 100% of toilet and urinal flushing demand from September to June while diverting surplus to site irrigation.
The WSU Everett—a new home for a coalition of learners, educators, and industry partners—creates a strong, distinct identity, setting the precedent for a future, fully-developed campus.