Wagner Education Center at the Center for Wooden Boats

Location Seattle, Washington
Design Principal Tom Kundig

Olson Kundig is designing the new Wagner Education Center at the Center for Wooden Boats in South Lake Union. The Center for Wooden Boats has provided a gathering place where maritime history comes alive through direct experience since 1976.

The new building will house a dedicated youth classroom that can be converted to a sail loft in the evening; new gallery and exhibit space; and a boat shop designed to facilitate the restoration of the museum’s largest boats and the construction of new boats from historic designs. The education center is the largest part of a $9.5 million dollar capital improvement project that is also upgrading the organization’s existing floating facilities at the south end of Lake Union. It will also bring necessary upgrades to CWB’s workshop and warehouse at the North end of the lake and will strengthen the museum’s financial stability.

The design of the new education center harkens back to historic Northwest boatbuilding facilities while at the same time serves as a modern front door for the growing museum, Lake Union Park and the surrounding South Lake Union neighborhood. Shape-shifting structures will be evident in the Wagner Education Center, where large windows will flank interior spaces and movable exterior panels will shift up or down to allow for the control of natural light and open or close the building. The design features wood, glass and steel, and just like on a boat, every inch of space and feature is designed to provide the highest function. The new CWB Wagner Education Center is seeking a LEED Gold Certification.

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