A 360-degree classroom highlights Washington State University’s new academic innovation hub

The circle-in-the-round classroom can accommodate 275 students.

January 19, 2018 |
The 360-degree classroom in the Spark

The circle-in-the-round classroom in The Spark. Photo: Benjamin Benschneider

The Spark, Washington State University’s (WSU) new 83,295-sf high-performance digital classroom building, provides the campus with a network of flexible, technology-enabled learning environments. The ZGF Architects-designed facility includes a variety of classroom types including formal, informal, large group, small group, individual, active, problem-based, and maker spaces.

The classroom spaces are flexible and allow for easy transition from a lecture format to group discussion. Students can reserve a variety of group study rooms by using iPads mounted outside of the rooms. “Learning lounges” are located on each level and provide space for meeting and help manage the large numbers of students congregating outside of classrooms before and after class. A naturally lit central stair links the interior spaces together and acts as a wayfinding tool.


Exterior of the SparkPhoto: Benjamin Benschneider.


The highlight of the new building, and also the largest classroom in The Spark, is a circle-in-the-round 360-degree active learning hall. This classroom forgoes the typical tiered seating lecture hall concept and instead provides students with 360 degrees of projected content that encircles the faculty.


Rooftop deck at the SparkPhoto: Benjamin Benschneider.


Large glass windows are found throughout the building to bring natural light and transparency to learning and support spaces. A roof deck furthers the connection to the surrounding natural environment. The Spark is currently on track to receive LEED Silver certification.


Lobby in the SparkPhoto: Benjamin Benschneider.


A small group study room in the SparkPhoto: Benjamin Benschneider.


Central stair in the SparkPhoto: Benjamin Benschneider.

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