Currently Reading

University of Washington Tacoma breaks ground on new STEM learning lab

University Buildings

University of Washington Tacoma breaks ground on new STEM learning lab

ARO designed the project.

By David Malone, Managing Editor | July 21, 2021
Milgard Hall exterior rendering
Milgard Hall exterior rendering

The University of Washington Tacoma (UWT) has broken ground on Milgard Hall, a state-of-the-art STEM learning lab. The building will connect students and faculty across the Milgard Business School, the School of Engineering & Technology, and the Global Innovation and Design Lab.

Designed by Architecture Research Office (ARO), the 55,000-sf building will be built with mass timber and incorporates sustainability into almost every facet of the facility’s design and construction. The building is carefully sited to maximize access to daylight and views and is programmed relative to solar energy to reduce HVAC loads wherever possible.

Milgard Hall is located adjacent to the revitalized Prairie Line Trail and surrounded by historic warehouse structures. The design is rooted in Tacoma’s history, including its connection to lumber and trades and the terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Exterior materials relate to the existing brick structures nearby as well as the modern urban context. Glimpses of the mass timber structure can be seen through expanses of glass in select zones. The local brick is contrasted with profiled metal panels. Large windows punctuate the facade, opening up towards the sky.


SEE ALSO: New 678-bed student housing development breaks ground near the University of South Carolina


Classrooms, laboratories, and an outdoor Science Court are situated to be visible from the Prairie Line Trail, actively connecting the students to passersby. An open, airy, common area, dubbed the “Connector,” extends through the building and accommodates a natural path across campus, further activating the building as a student hub at the south side of campus. All departments converge in the Connector, allowing it to be used simultaneously as a collaborative zone and for individual study and work. The Connector also welcomes the surrounding community, providing access to a large, flexible High Impact Practice Space and other flexible classrooms.

The building will be a home for the expanding School of Engineering and Technology (SET) and will house a lab wing providing new engineering spaces on campus. The spaces will include a machine and fabrication shop and concrete combustion labs with exterior access to the street and Science Court. Hydrology and Robotics labs are located on the upper floors of the building. The Global Innovation Design Lab (GIDLab) will include flexible spaces that support a design thinking methodology. Synergies between SET, GIDLab, and the Milgard School of Business will be promoted in the building, intersecting with the broader Tacoma community.

Milgard Hall is slated to be completed in 2023.

Related Stories

Laboratories | Oct 14, 2021

Pandemic puts science and technology facilities at center stage

Expanding demand for labs and life science space is spurring new construction and improvements in existing buildings.

University Buildings | Sep 28, 2021

Designing for health sciences education: Specialty instruction and human anatomy labs

It is a careful balance within any educational facility to provide both multidisciplinary, multiuse spaces and special-use spaces that serve particular functions.

University Buildings | Sep 7, 2021

Gateway to the West: Kansas City University Center for Medical Education Innovation

Kansas City University Center for Medical Education Innovation uses GKD Omega 1520 metal fabric.

Giants 400 | Aug 30, 2021

2021 Giants 400 Report: Ranking the largest architecture, engineering, and construction firms in the U.S.

The 2021 Giants 400 Report includes more than 130 rankings across 25 building sectors and specialty categories.

Giants 400 | Aug 26, 2021

2021 University Giants: Top architecture, engineering, and construction firms in the higher education sector

Gensler, AECOM, Turner Construction, and CannonDesign head BD+C's rankings of the nation's largest university sector architecture, engineering, and construction firms, as reported in the 2021 Giants 400 Report.

University Buildings | Aug 19, 2021

School of Medicine completes on California University of Science and Medicine’s new Colton campus

The project was designed and built to address critical public health needs in an underserved region.

Resiliency | Aug 19, 2021

White paper outlines cost-effective flood protection approaches for building owners

A new white paper from Walter P Moore offers an in-depth review of the flood protection process and proven approaches.

University Buildings | Aug 12, 2021

Central Michigan University’s Chippewa Champions Center completes

The project was designed in partnership between Populous and GMB Architecture + Engineering.

More In Category

Magazine Subscription

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.


Follow BD+C: