AKA: Washington State University (WSU), Design Disciplines Building, Pullman, WA

Structure Type: built works - public buildings - schools - university buildings

Designers: Bouillon, Christofferson, and Schairer, Mechanical Engineers (firm); Naramore, Bain, Brady, and Johanson, (NBBJ) (firm); Skilling, Helle, Christiansen, and Robertson, Incorporated, Engineers (firm); William James Bain Jr. (architect); Howard Berglund (architect); Clifton J. Brady (architect); John Valdemar Christiansen (structural engineer); Dean E. Hardy (architect); Helge Joel Helle (structural engineer); Perry Bertil Johanson (architect); Floyd Archibald Naramore (architect); Leslie Earl Robertson (engineer); Robert Henry Schairer (mechanical engineer); John Bower Skilling (structural engineer)

Dates: constructed 1973

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NE Stadium Way and Grimes Way
Washington State University (WSU) Campus, Pullman, WA 99164

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This design school building won a citation in 1968 Annual Design Awards sponsored by Progressive Architecture magazine; NBBJ acted as the architect on the building; William Bain, Jr., was the Partner-in-Charge; Dean E. Hardy, Project Architect; Howard Berglund the Project Designer.

The project was not built as designed in the 1960s, however, but was made smaller to accommodate the Department of Fine Arts only.

Building History

The Seattle architectural firm of Naramore, Bain, Brady and Johanson (NBBJ), designed the Design Disciplines Building at Washington State University c. 1967. Its task, as originally laid out, was as follows: "To bring together the Departments of Architecture, Fine Arts, Landscape Architecture, Interior Design, and Industrial design in a complex that will stimulate interaction and collaboration among the environmental design disciplines and involvement with the rest of the university." (See Progressive Architecture, "Citation," vol. XLIX, no. 1, 01/1968, p. 116.)

In its initial scheme, NBBJ employed two, parallel, circulation spines, each running east-west, to organize the building. A central spine was longer than the one to the north. Classrooms, studios, offices and other specialized spaces opened on either side of these large interior "streets." The architects said of the plan: "A series of flexible, linear, loft spaces separated and served by high, top-lighted circulation 'streets' are provided. Streets are open to some adjacent spaces and closed to others; besides providing circulation, they are meant to be student gathering places and exhibition spaces. Efficient circulation has been planned to draw students from other parts of the campus through the building on their way to and from classes. Large open studios occupy the top level, and areas for heavy materials and equipment are below the entrance floor. Multilevel parking fits into the sloping site below the building." (See Progressive Architecture, "Citation," vol. XLIX, no. 1, 01/1968, p. 116.)

NBBJ worked with Skilling, Helle, Christiansen and Robertson, Structural Engineers, and Bouillon, Christofferson and Schairer, Mechanical Engineers, on the design of the WSU Design Disciplines Building.

The building was finally completed in 1973 and downsized for budgetary reasons. It housed the Fine Arts Department and an art museum at WSU only.

Building Notes

The building, like that of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Washington, had a Brutalist aesthetic, popular for design buildings of the 1960s. A description of the aesthetic stated: "Comination precast and cast-in-place concrete. Exposed concrete and indigenous brick, harmonious with existing campus buildings, to be used for exteriors and interiors. Mechanical ducts and pipes will be exposed to serve as teaching aids." (See Progressive Architecture, "Citation," vol. XLIX, no. 1, 01/1968, p. 116.) Its exterior design with exposed concrete framing with brick infill paralleled the University of Washington's contemporaneous Odegaard Undergraduate Library (1972).

PCAD id: 3783