Interdisciplinary Science Center, Eastern Washington University - Exterior

Interdisciplinary Science Center
Eastern Washington University


Cheney, Washington


Eastern Washington University

Collaborators +

General Contractor: Lydig Construction

Laboratory Planning: Research Facilities Design

Structural Engineering: Coughlin Porter Lundeen

Mechanical & Electrical Engineering : MW Consulting Engineers

Civil Engineering: MW Consulting Engineers

Landscape Architecture: Berger Partnership

Project Size

New area: 101,352 square feet

Renovated area: 1,362 square feet

Bridge length: 60 feet

Project Status



Certified LEED New Construction Gold


Architecture, Interior Design, Planning

The Interdisciplinary Science Center (ISC) for physics, chemistry, biology, and geology at Eastern Washington University (EWU) places science prominently within the public life of the University. The building completes the western edge of the Arevalo Student Mall, and to the south, it accommodates and amplifies a primary pedestrian corridor, connecting the central campus to the growing athletics precinct to the west. Along this pathway, the building and its bridges frame a significant new campus gateway that will reinforce the prominence of the science education programs at Eastern Washington University. The facility is connected to the existing Science Building Center by two enclosed pedestrian bridges, forming a single integrated facility between the two structures.

The ISC is designed to be a teaching tool itself. Inside the building, laboratory instrument exhibits and educational displays are integrated throughout its central corridor walls, creating an interactive educational environment, and connecting the laboratories and the corridor in a dynamic exchange of filtered views. Outside the building, the landscape design features significant geologic specimens along site walls and native plant species arrayed among the building’s various micro-climates and was conceived through close collaboration with the teaching faculty.

Some of the sustainable strategies include low-flow fume hoods and heat recovery pipes, rainwater harvesting, xeriscaping, and inclusion of botanical and geological landscape elements that serve as teaching tools. Each laboratory is a complex, yet simple composition of private and public spaces that elevate the social experience. The building is in dialogue with the academic context, and the design is a highly ordered study in scale, materiality, transparency, and natural light.

Photography: Benjamin Benschneider, Adam Hunter

Interdisciplinary Science Center, Eastern Washington University - Exterior

The rectilinear form of the building is clad with a panelized red brick façade system, alternately staggered in elevation to reveal a consistent rhythm of windows into the laboratory spaces within. The planar brick panels are accentuated with a subtle mix of cascading glazed surfaces, animating the façade in a continual play of subtle reflection throughout the day.

Interdisciplinary Science Center, Eastern Washington University - Exterior
Interdisciplinary Science Center, Eastern Washington University - Interior

The three levels above feature a linear arrangement of laboratories, each with a corner display window that visually connects the teaching spaces to the social life of the building.

Selected Awards

2023 Chicago Athenaeum, American Architecture Award, Honorable Mention