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Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

Odegaard Undergraduate Library in Seattle, Washington by The Miller Hull Partnership

January 19th, 2014 by Sanjay Gangal

Article source: The Miller Hull Partnership

The interior renovation of this library at the University of Washington not only transformed an outmoded 1970s-era building but also reimagined the learning experience for students in the 21st century. The project also recognizes the inherent sustainability in renovation and reuse of a facility versus building new. Removal of the building’s most dominant feature—the imposing central staircase—essentially “found” an additional 6,000 square feet of previously underused space, the equivalent of 36 dorm rooms.

Image Courtesy © Lara Swimmer

  • Architects:The Miller Hull Partnership
  • Project: Odegaard Undergraduate Library
  • Location: Seattle, Washington
  • Photography: Lara Swimmer
  • Owner: University of Washington
  • Contractor: Mortenson Construction 
  • Graphics, Wayfinding: Mayer Reed 
  • Structural: Coughlin Porter Lundeen  

Image Courtesy © Lara Swimmer

Constructed 40 years ago with few updates since, the massive 165,000-square-foot building could no longer keep pace with changes in learning, technology, and energy use and was long overdue for an update. The architect worked with faculty to identify a set of learning behaviors the building needed to support, then developed an architectural “kit of parts” to address each one: active learning, discovery of collection, consultation, prototyping, informal learning, individual study, and production. Each piece of the kit is color coded to highlight its significance in the academic experience.

Image Courtesy © Lara Swimmer

The existing atrium was effectively reinvented to become the true “heart” of the building, both functionally and architecturally. Removal and replacement of the main atrium stair with a more efficient stair gained significantly more usable study and gathering space. Overhead, a large skylight adds light and airiness to the three-story atrium.

Image Courtesy © Lara Swimmer

At the perimeter, technology-rich classrooms for team-based learning during the day can be opened up for flexible nighttime study space. All spaces were designed for dual use throughout the 24-hour cycle. Overall, building space utilization increased by 13 percent.

Image Courtesy © Lara Swimmer

The original oak stair railings were repurposed throughout the new atrium space. The remilled oak spindles enabled an undulating railing pattern, which adds interest and breaks up the massive space. Along with the new skylight, more efficient lighting, mechanical, and plumbing systems added significantly to the building’s improved energy efficiency.

Image Courtesy © Lara Swimmer

Image Courtesy © Lara Swimmer

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Category: Library

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