University of Washington Foster School of Business – PACCAR Hall — Seattle, WA
Solid Douglas Fir with Clear Finish
Situated in the heart of University of Washington’s gothic campus, the brand new 132,000SF Foster School of Business Paccar Hall sits next to UW’s oldest building. Emphasizing the building’s focus on “interconnectedness”, the heavily-glazed five-story building includes terraces overlooking the quad, a café, a 250-seat auditorium, administrative offices and dozens of classrooms. The interior prominently features FSC-certified vertical grain Douglas Fir linear wood panels in the four-story atrium.
The LEED Gold Paccar Hall is heavily daylit. Because 45% of the building’s surfaces are glass, wood offers a warm high-end finish to balance the glazing. Douglas Fir has strong ties to the region’s heritage and it was important to have the members extra thick and wide to match the grandeur and scale of the space. Per the LEED requirements, the wood had to be harvested within 500 miles from FSC-certified forests. In addition, it had to maintain structural integrity and architectural aesthetics even with exposure to the elements. This required us to dig deep within our supply chain.
After thorough research and subsequent samples, the architect selected FSC-certified vertical grain Douglas Fir. The break-through came when we were able to source this wood from the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation in Northern California, an FSC-certified landowner. This location barely met the 500-mile requirement. “It was 462 miles to be exact,” recounted our local rep. “I remember the number because they wouldn’t believe me at first!”
Once the species and module had been selected, the focus turned to the installation of the 40-foot tall interior and exterior ceilings and custom mitered walls. The 12-foot long ceiling panels ran end to end for 250 feet and would have to be aligned perfectly. From the fourth-story walkways, the close-up sightline would reveal any misalignment along the long run. The panels weighed about 40 pounds each and had to be raised in a scissor lift both for the interior and exterior. There was little room for recourse once a panel was installed because of the extreme coordination required to maneuver the scissor lift around other trades.
The architect summarized the final installed product by saying, “The Paccar Hall building interior is a warm and rich environment because of the combination of finishes, especially the wood wall and ceiling panels and their textural relationship with the brick, metal, and glass in the space. It is quite striking.” Paccar Hall is set to be a campus center for decades to come.
Stunning results, seismic compliance and straightforward installation.
LMN Architects, Seattle, Washington
Forrest Sound Products, Redmond, Washington
2010 Construction Excellence Awards (Bronze, West Region, Interior Finishes),2011 NWCB Outstanding Project of the Year (Suspended Ceiling, Washington)