Cultivating Synergy and Building Community

Life Sciences Building

Washington State University ‑ Vancouver

The Life Sciences Building will bring all components of WSU Vancouvers’ basic translational, applied, and clinical health programs together in one location on campus. The building will fill critical needs for instructional laboratories for undergraduate and graduate science courses, including Biology, Molecular Biology, Environmental Science, Neuroscience, Nursing, and Chemistry. Research laboratory suites and specialized laboratory support functions will provide high-quality flexible and adaptable space for faculty research programs.

  • Contractor

    Andersen Construction

  • Structural Engineer

    Catena Consulting Engineers

  • Electrical Engineer

    Samata Consulting Engineers

  • Mechanical Engineer

    Affiliated Engineers (AEI)

  • Landscape Architect


  • Civil Engineer

    Harper Houf Peterson Righellis Inc. (HHPR)

  • Lighting Design

    Biella Lighting Design

  • LEED Consultant

    Brightworks Sustainability

  • Code Consultant

    Code Unlimited

  • Envelope Consultant

    RDH Building Science

  • Accessibility

    Studio Pacifica

  • Low Voltage


  • Acoustical Engineer

    ABD Engineering

  • Wind Consulting

    CPP Wind Engineering

Site Plan

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Building Structure and Enclosure Diagram

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Mass Plywood Exterior Diagram

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Mass Plywood Deck Diagram

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A Combination of Teaching and Research Labs

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Designing Inclusive Spaces

Tracking LEED Gold, the new building design honors the Master Plan and provides inclusive spaces for gathering, education, socializing, accessibility, sustainability, enhancement of the native landscape, and spaces that capture the beautiful views of Mt. St. Helens. To accommodate the diverse population of students in varying degree programs, the project’s Guiding Principles included celebrating the beauty of the place, forging an engine of opportunity, working for everyone, connecting and learning, adapting, and fostering connections.

Embedded into a Sloped Hillside

Organized on an east-west axis, the building form and footprint reinforces the existing campus planning organization in a way that accommodates accessible interior and exterior transitions down the hillside, creates defined and activated outdoor space along the Mt. St. Helens corridor, and is optimized around daylighting and building energy performance.

The site has a significant grade change falling to the northeast, the building projects out to engage a new gathering area along the Mt. St. Helens corridor.

Creating Cohesive Connections

The new building will serve to create a cohesive science courtyard with engaging and activated outdoor spaces for large and small gatherings and outdoor educational opportunities that highlight sustainable design practices and celebrate our innate connection to nature. The square will activate the west side of the building and provide ADA access and inclusivity.

Entries and covered porches are clad in wood and recessed into the form, creating weather protection and welcoming gather areas adjacent to the Mt. St. Helens Corridor.

Complementing the Existing Campus Fabric

The Life Sciences Building complements the campus while evolving the architectural language towards high performance, efficient, and elegant design solutions that will serve the University over time.

Responding to the campus design vocabulary through the use of sloping metal roofs and enclosing walls of brick, metal panels, and glazing. Sitting atop the brick masonry form is a lighter expression for the upper floor of the building which is clad in metal and reveals itself along the east and west facades of the form. The unique shape of the standing seam roof is derived from a combination of the gable and hip geometries found across campus, but merged in a way that slopes down to accommodate the view corridor to Mt. St. Helens, reinforces the language of the gable on the larger end facade, and ultimately results in a form that complements the topography as it gently slopes across the site.

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