(LMN Architects)

Still Building

Founders Hall, an exhibition of engineered wood and ecological construction, takes shape on the Foster School campus

While much of the University of Washington has been quieter than usual due to the pandemic, Denny Yard has resounded with the clang and thrum of heavy construction on the latest jewel of the Foster School campus: Founders Hall.

The 85,000 square-foot building, rising from the footprint of Mackenzie Hall, will house classrooms, student team rooms and much-needed space for student programs, career services and experiential learning centers.

The new facility’s estimated project costs of $75 million are being funded entirely by private gifts from a consortium driven by a group of leadership donors—the “founders” of Founders Hall.

It will be one of the greenest buildings on campus, designed to achieve a 76 percent reduction in energy consumption over the first 60 years of its life.

And Founders Hall will be the first building at the UW—and one of the first in the state—to be constructed of cross-laminated timber (CLT). CLT is a state-of-the-art engineered wood with the structural strength, rigidity, stability and durability to replace steel and concrete. And it offers significant environmental advantages, including sustainable sourcing, low-emission manufacturing and continual carbon sequestering.

Not to mention it is beautiful to behold. The elegantly finished wood, with precision shaping, will be visible in all aspects of the five-story structure.

There’s still plenty of work to be done on this project—a partnership of the UW, the Foster School, LMN Architects and Hoffman Construction—before its projected opening in early 2022.

For now, here is a sneak peek at Founders Hall, inside and out.

Pride Inside

The abundance of local timber is only one of the ways that designers are evoking the beauty of the Pacific Northwest—and the spirit of Foster—inside Founders Hall.

“We’re seeing a real difference in students emphasizing values over compensation,” says Dean Frank Hodge. “We want our newest building to signal what our values are.”

Purple pride will appear everywhere you look, with visible cues of Foster’s guiding principles of inclusion, collaboration and innovation.

These interior visualizations are courtesy of Advent.

Ed Kromer Ed Kromer Managing Editor Foster School

Ed Kromer is the managing editor of Foster Business magazine. Over the past two decades, he has served as the school’s senior storyteller, writing about a wide array people, programs, insights and innovations that power the Foster School community.