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Projects / Olympic Natural Resources Center

Olympic Natural Resources Center


Forks, WA


University of Washington, College of Forest Resources


23,500 sf research facility
40-acre site



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The Olympic Natural Resources Center is a research facility whose mission is promoting innovative timber resource management techniques. The campus consists of laboratories, workshops, conference rooms, classrooms, administrative and research offices, interpretive center, social hall, and housing.

Weather challenges greatly impacted the design of the facility. Torrential rains up to 50 inches per month and strong winds that reach 100 mph influenced both site organization and the essential design of all structures. The simple shed-roof form results from the need to provide protected exterior circulation and to resist the uplift of the strong winds.

A significant client ambition was to evoke the character and appeal of heavy-timber lodge construction. They also wanted to utilize ecologically correct engineered wood products. The design utilizes cost-effective engineered framing members (TJIs) at all primary roofs, engineered beam fabrications (glu-laminated) at exterior overhangs, covered walkways and porches. This approach conveyed the style of timber framing and satisfied the client’s mission and budget.

1996 AIA Seattle jury quote: “An excellent start to what promises to be a most inspiring and impressive campus. A teaching device in its built example as well as its function. An innovative interpretation of modern concepts of husbandry.”


AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Awards, Merit Award, 1999
AIA Seattle Honor Awards for Washington Architecture, Merit Award, 1996
AIA Seattle Honor Awards for Washington Architecture, Citation (Future Projects), 1993

Photography: © Michael Shopenn Photography