The University of Washington’s Department of Housing and Food Services identified a need to replace or substantially renovate nearly all of its student housing to address aging and inadequate facilities and overcrowding.
The plan resulted in the construction of nearly 1,650 beds on four sites over a two-year period. A goal was to establish a vibrant environment within the housing, within the shared community uses, and in the public realm of the sidewalks, streets, and parkway. It is the first step in creating a vital urban student village that will ultimately serve as the home for nearly 4,500 student residents.
This district plan builds on the principles of the campus master plan and the subsequent housing master plan to create connections to the university and the surrounding neighborhood, avoiding an exclusionary, inward focus.
The buildings create an iconic campus identity. Constructed of five levels of wood frame over a concrete podium and clad in manganese- flashed brick, the simple and repetitive building forms leveraged a tight budget to maintain the quality of materials.
The jury said, “ . . . very compelling, want to be in the spaces. . . richness and layering of edges . . . great example of best use of environment. . . epitomizes town gown issues . . .”
The project achieves the following objectives: create environments that maximize safety and security; provide students with a significantly higher quality of life and greatly enhanced living/learning experiences; create buildings with extremely low energy requirements; create a vital urban center for the district’s users, create place identified with UW, and provide direction to the evolving campus master plan; exercise fiscal responsibility, developing strategies that maximizing performance and value.
Building orientation and massing, access and connectivity, and public spaces with active uses created a renewed, walkable, transit-oriented neighborhood. Narrower roadways, wider sidewalks, street trees plantings, and covered bus stops create a hospitable, pedestrian experience.
“Phase One of UW’s new West Campus Student Housing initiative brilliantly balances poetic and practical objectives in a deeply integrated and carbon-conscious suite of urban buildings that defy the limitations of their five-over-two construction and their severely constrained budgets,” says Daniel S. Friedman, professor of architecture, adjunct professor of urban design and planning, dean and chair, UW Architectural Commission, 2006-2012.Project Team: University of Washington for West Campus Housing – Phase I with Mahlum Architects; also Robert Sabbatini AICP, FASLA; Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd