Washington State University, Chinook Student Center

Pullman, Washington

  • FIRM



    Washington State University

  • AREA

    68,959 sq.ft.





Built in 1954 as a campus bookstore, “The Bookie” evolved from an assembly space into a cultural hub for generations of Washington State students. In 2014, students led the initiative to transform the abandoned building into a new student center, re-establishing its importance with the student body.
The reuse of the structure, certified LEED Silver, was paramount to ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$374.00FEATURED IN2018 Educational Interiors ShowcaseINTERIOR CATEGORYStudent Centers/Service Areas the environmental impact of construction; however, the existing building geometry contained deep floor plates with low floor-to-floor heights and minimal daylight penetration. Additionally, the new program, which was developed through sessions with students and staff, proved to be diverse and complex. The new center would need to contain both quiet study and meditation spaces, bordered by louder social meeting and gymnasium uses. A shared desire of students and the project team to create an inclusive environment required retooling the building to incorporate gender-neutral facilities and ablution spaces to accommodate the needs of the student population.
The design team’s solution was to introduce a curved wall as a unifying element, slicing through the entire structure. The wall splits the building in half, opening the roof so that daylight can stream into the building’s center. Bordering the Curve are double-height sectional cuts that create visual connections between the variety of programmatic functions and providing a clear path through the previously labyrinthine structure. The curve’s orientation creates a play of shadows along the wall, lending an ever-changing aspect to the central path.