In light of our official kick-off of demolition, we took a moment to ask our partners at Integrus Architecture for the inside scoop on the design process for Parrington Hall. Hear directly from our architects about what they hope students will love the most about their new space, and what inspires them about our historic home.
- What is the vision for the Parrington Hall remodel? How did your firm and the Evans School arrive at this vision?
The vision behind the design solution really was developed by the Evans School before we joined their team. Dean Archibald and her faculty and students envisioned a comfortable 21st century learning setting that would focus on the students and honor the teaching, learning, and research that occurs at the school every day. The existing historic Parrington Hall is replete with the history and traditions, but like many early buildings on campus, it lacked the kinds of inspiring, connected spaces that promote program flexibility and encourage collaboration. We used the school’s vision to design spaces that bring students and faculty together, reflecting the project goals: Collaboration, Connection, Comfort, and Community.
- What are exciting and fun opportunities/experiences when working on a historic building remodel? What are some of the challenges?
It has been a great experience working with a building with such historic character and one that is an icon at the University. The opportunity to reimagine the spaces within and to create a learning environment suited for tomorrow is exciting. We embraced and were inspired by Parrington Hall’s original character and made it inherent in our design. Also, creating warmth and appealing to the human condition was exciting for us. We called our design concept “Urban Northwest,” featuring brick, steel, and reclaimed Douglas fir to capture the essence of the original structure while modernizing the atmosphere.
The challenges all lie in the spatial limitations when working with a historic building. It took some thoughtful planning and design to ensure that all needs were met while minimally disrupting the existing building. We are particularly happy that we were able to achieve increased size of classrooms, create three NEW classrooms, maintain faculty office spaces for office hours and group meetings, and create new collaborative spaces within the historic constraints of the building.
- What are some key elements to the Parrington Hall project that you are especially excited about?
Well, the whole thing’s pretty cool. But there are several distinct features that we were very deliberate about including...
First, the expanded café and associated gathering space that will serve as communal gathering for students and faculty alike.
Next, we were able to utilize materials from the original building and some surrounding landmarks to celebrate the historical value of Parrington Hall, the University of Washington campus, and the surrounding community. The cafe area features brick that is original to Parrington Hall and Northwest reclaimed timber. The stairway that is adjacent to the café features reclaimed Douglas fir from the 520 Floating Bridge.
Additionally, on the third floor there is an open, collaborative space for students to work and meet. It will be a comfortable area, adjacent to a row of windows affording campus views and abundant daylight. Along this area there is a reclaimed wood feature wall. The wood wall has an ombre stain that gradually fades from dark to light, a symbolizing the diversity of backgrounds, interest areas, disciplines, passions, aspirations, and personal identities that exists within the Evans School.
- How do you maintain your excitement and inspiration on projects that take a long time to complete?
In the early part of a project, it is exciting to understand the Owner’s vision, and build a framework for how the project design will come together in response to the project goals. As the design progresses, there are many details to work out, and systems to integrate. We are constantly going back to the vision and the project’s goals as we work through the many details. We thrive on the infectious energy and excitement of the students, faculty, and staff that will inhabit the revitalized building, knowing that their experience will be improved once the project is complete.
- If you were an incoming Evans School student, what would you be most excited about in the new Parrington Hall?
Incoming students will be excited about the variety of collaborative spaces to use for study, conversation, or just to hang out. Aligning with a networking concept, we opened up smaller rooms to create a number of gathering spaces for both students and faculty. These spaces include both quiet study areas as well as meeting spaces for groups. The variety of spaces for students will meet individual needs by providing flexibility in how they work and learn in comfortable spaces.