University of Washington Tacoma, Milgard Hall

The new mass-timber Milgard Hall, an interdisciplinary STEM and business building at the University of Washington Tacoma, responds to the need for STEM programming in the South Sound and supports innovation and design thinking.

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Rendering of the entry to the new Milgard Hall at the University of Washington Tacoma

Milgard Hall embodies UWT’s mission as an “urban-serving university” and creates an accessible and welcoming space for collaboration between the Milgard School of Business, the School of Engineering & Technology (SET), the Global Innovation and Design Lab (GIDLab), and community groups. The 55,000-SF-building includes a lab wing, fabrication shops, flexible collaborative spaces and classrooms, and an outdoor Science Court.

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Rendering of the entry to the Global Innovation Design Lab at the new Milgard Hall
An exposed gluelam structural system provides natural warmth and references the region’s timber history.

The use of mass timber, a low-carbon renewable resource, is a central design priority. The gluelam structural system addresses ambitious sustainability goals, provides natural material warmth, and references the region’s timber legacy.

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Rendering of the new Milgard Hall at the University of Washington, sited adjacent to the Prairie Trail
Large windows punctuate the façade, revealing the innovative research within this historic context.

Located adjacent to the revitalized Prairie Line Trail, the building is carefully sited to maximize access to daylight and views. Exterior materials mediate between the historic warehouse structures nearby, the modern urban context of downtown Tacoma, and the surrounding campus. Local brick is used on the north and east sides of the building, which house the classrooms and faculty offices, while profiled metal panels on the south and west correspond to the lab spaces visible from the Prairie Line Trail.

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Rendering of the new Milgard Hall at the University of Washington, sited adjacent to the Prairie Trail

All departments converge in the “Connector,” an open collaborative zone that promotes synergies between SET, GIDLab, and the Milgard School of Business, and visibly displays research at the ground level, connecting students to passersby. An airy, common area, the “Connector” extends through the building and accommodates a natural path across campus, further activating Milgard Hall as a student hub at the south side of campus.

Design-builder: Andersen Construction
For more, listen to Principal Kim Yao’s interview on the American Buildings Podcast.