Special Citation - Excellence in Landscape Architecture for General Design

Seattle University

Seattle University Jim and Janet Sinegal Center for Science and Innovation
Seattle University - Seattle University Jim and Janet Sinegal Center for Science and Innovation
Jury Comments
“. . . cool incorporation of boulders and historic landscapes . . . transplanted trees in courtyard are artfully arranged to create an inspiring space . . . appreciate the use of stormwater as a design element . . .”


    • Site – .65 acres
    • LEED Gold
    • A neighborhood porch, campus gateway, and contemplative courtyard surround the new facility.
    • Transplanted legacy trees frame the courtyard, creating enclosed contemplative spaces.
    • Flexible outdoor spaces extend the academic program.
    • The campus edge design merges traditional with urban.
    • Dry streambeds inspired the site design and material textures.
    • Lost, overgrown specimen trees and boulders were documented and repurposed.
    • Careful sequencing of material installation was crucial for preservation.


Seattle University is in the heart of the city, and the campus edges interact with several diverse neighborhoods and serve as open space for the university’s neighbors. This required thoughtful landscape design along the campus edges and the grounds. The campus grounds must sensitively respond to the surrounding context while creating welcoming spaces for students. A series of gardens and open spaces create a variety of outdoor rooms.

Many of the gardens originate from the work of Fujitarō Kubota, a local landscape designer and nurseryman, who worked on the campus from the mid-1940s through the 1960s. Kubota is well known for gardens throughout Seattle that merge Japanese tradition with Pacific Northwest native plants, and his work with the university helped unify the grounds as the campus grew. Realizing the Sinegal Center site was an overgrown Kubota garden, the team carefully documented existing site material for reuse. Significant trees and boulders were removed from the site and stored to prepare for construction. The team used the remaining Kubota gardens on campus and in Seattle to guide the site design, studying scale, materials, color, texture, and interrelationships.

From the beginning, it was important to the university to put science on display. Along the building edge, rectilinear stormwater planters capture and treat the roof runoff and emphasize the campus gateway. The stormwater planters step with grade from east to west, moving from above grade to recessed, and terminating at a large stormwater planter. Native wet meadow plants in the planters provide seasonal variation and ecological function.

The team organized a portion of the site around maximizing outdoor learning, providing a large flexible space immediately adjacent to a classroom for the flexibility of outdoor experiments. The space is anchored at the corners by boulders—and their lichen communities—salvaged from the original site.

Project Team

Mithun Landscape Architect, Collaborating Design Architect and Architect of Record,
Collaborating Interior Designer;
EYP A&E Design Architect and Lab Designer; KPFF Civil and Structural Engineer; Arup Lighting Designer; PAE Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing Engineer; Skanska General Contractor