Structure Type: built works - exhibition buildings - museums; built works - public buildings - schools - university buildings

Designers: Olson Kundig Architects (firm); Skanska USA Building Incorporated (firm); Thomas Walter Kundig (architect); James W.P. Olson (architect)

Dates: constructed 2016-2019

3 stories, total floor area: 105,387 sq. ft.

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17 Avenue NE and NE45th Street
University of Washington Campus, Seattle, WA 98195

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In 2016, the University of Washington Capital Programs Office estimated the cost of the new Burke Museum at $79,000,000. Design of the new building occurred from08/01/2012 until 12/1/2015. Construction was expected to occur between 08/01/2016 and 08/31/2017. The new facility, estimated to contain between 105,000 and 110,000 gross square feet, would nearly double the previous 68,9160-square-foot building erected in 1962.

Building History

Consideration was given to renovating the James Chiarelli-designed Burke Museum #1, but replacement of HVAC systems and other factors were deemed to be more expensive than erecting a whole new building. At a public briefing on the new Burke construction project held in 03/2016, Burke Executive Director Julie Stein explained the administration's thinking: According to a reporter for the Daily of the University of Washington, Laura Mishkin: "The budget for the project is $99 million, funded by a combination of public and private support. When the Burke leadership board initially approached the idea of renovating the building, it found that renovation costs would be $1 million more expensive than a demolition and new building." Stein emphasized that the she hoped for a more transparent building located next to the busy intersection of NE 45th Street and 15th Avenue NE. "In the presentation, Stein spoke of how the current building oddly placed, with a wall separating it from the rest of the community. Its square shape makes heating and ventilation difficult, according to [UW Burke Museum] project team manager Eldon Tam, providing an inhospitalble environment for visitors and artifacts. Moving closer to 15th Avenue Northeast will ideally make the building more inviting and open to the community, according to Tam." The emphasis on transparency was an important factor in deciding to build a new museum rather than refurbish the old.

Mishkin continued on the museum's desire for openness: "The theme of transparency and openness is echoed throughout the initial building designs, with nearly 60 percent of the museum viewable to visitors through glass partitions and an open floor plan, revealing research labs and artifacts. Currently, the collections are on display only a couple of times a year due to the current floorplan. In the New Burke, there will be adequate space to show artifacts every day. The facade takes inspiratoin from the Pacific Northwest landscape and longhouses, with thin windows and a sloped roof. After the current Burke Museum is demolished, the site will be planted with native trees." (See Laura Mishkin, "The New Burke Museum is coming," Daily of the University of Washington, vol. 124, no. 95, 03/08/2016, p. 2.) Demolition of the old building, however, took away any possibility for its use as a storage building for the growing museum.

The Burke Museum #2 opened to the public on 10/12/2019.

Building Notes

The UW Capital Programs Office said of the new building in 03/2016: "This project will provide a new building to address the limitations and shortcomings of the existing building, which does not meet contemporary standards for museum environments, collections storage, or public use facilities. The New Burke Museum will celebrate the Museum's goals to A) foster understanding and inspire wonder about the Northwest and our place in the world, B) emphasize the power of object-based learning to inspire curiosity, generate new knowledge and foster understanding of the role that collections play in our shared natural and cultural heritage; and C) emphasize the connection between people and the environment in every aspect of the museum, from research, exhibits and programming to the museum's building, grounds and business practices."(See UW Project Tracker: Tracker Number: 203007, accessed 03/18/2016.)

The new Burke had an in-museum restaurant called the "Off the Rez Café."

PCAD id: 19691