Washington State University Visitor Center

Location Pullman, Washington
Design Principal Alan Maskin
Design Collaborator Steven Rainville

Located on the west edge of the Washington State University campus in Pullman, Washington, the Visitor Center is the new gateway for students and guests to the university. The Visitor Center provides campus information, an overview of student culture, alumni history, and information about WSU research initiatives and achievements.

The 4,277 square-foot building serves as a showcase for the wide-ranging activities that make up the university. The building design features a number of materials largely developed at WSU, and is a place for visitors to discover first-hand, the significant research contributions WSU has made to the construction industry. Included among these materials are cross-laminated timber, oriented strand board, and Pine beetle kill wood. Exhibits throughout the facility highlight WSU’s achievements in global animal health, food and agriculture, and clean technologies. Inside, interpretive interactives display the diverse talents that have emerged and continue to be fostered in this unique land grant institution that is Washington State University.

The 15-foot-tall W-S-U concrete letters mark the west end of the building and help support the large overhanging roof that rests above the glass pavilion. Supporting the opposite end of the pavilion roof is a forty-foot-tall, one-inch-thick steel plate tower, reminiscent of the historic Bryan Tower at the heart of campus. Composed of two curved and tapered lunettes, the two segments are pulled apart to provide an aperture for light and to admit entry. The tower glows with a white light at night, serving as a beacon of WSU spirit.

The design brings together such diverse influences as the iconic text/landscape integration in the Hollywood sign, the shaped steel of wind turbines, the incredibly influential WSU materials research programs and the highly infectious spirit of the Cougs themselves.

Alan Maskin Design Principal
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