Highline Community College Higher Education Center

Des Moines, Washington

Project Size:

84,000 square feet

Project Status:

Completed 2004

Selected Awards

2005 IIDA IN Awards

Honorable Mention, Design in Mass Category

The Higher Education Center embraces its location on the campus periphery, reversing the previous development pattern of inward looking buildings wrapped in expanses of parking, directly engaging the surrounding neighborhood and landscape with an exuberant, welcoming expression and its science and technology programs.

The joint facility for Central Washington University and Highline Community College includes lecture halls, distance learning classrooms, science laboratories, computer classrooms, and faculty administration offices for both colleges. Both functional organization and architectural expression emphasize the unique institutional partnership while providing clear, separate identities that focus on respective institutional needs.

The “U-shaped” plan anchors the classroom block into the sloping site and orients office functions in extending wings that provide expansive views over wooded landscape to the Puget Sound and Olympic mountains. A diagonal circulation spine overlays the orthogonal plan geometry, forming an interactive study area and connecting link between the central campus, parking and surrounding neighborhood.