The UW Tacoma campus is a unique model for an urban university. Located in the heart of the city’s Union Depot Warehouse National Historic District, the University offers degree programs for undergraduate and graduate students within renovated structures and new buildings.

BOLA was the design architect for the Cherry Parkes Building, and provided a pre-design confirmation study, programming, and design. This building is an assembly of three adjoining, heavy timber and brick warehouses dating from the 1890s. Together, they provide 72,000 sq. ft. of academic labs, classrooms, offices, and service and retail space. (BOLA collaborated with McGranahan Architects, the prime architect, and Miller|Hull Partnership, in the design and construction of Phase 2B.)

The Cherry Parkes Building is bordered by Pacific Avenue, a high-traffic thoroughfare on the east, and Commerce Street, the primary pedestrian route for the UW campus, on the west. Designs for the restored facades respond to these different contexts. Interior spaces emphasize the presence of historic bearing brick masonry and heavy timber, with natural illumination, sustainable materials and contemporary minimalist metal details. An atrium, two-story circulation and gathering spaces were created in the upper floors, and lively retail spaces were inserted along the sidewalk at grade level. BOLA worked in a GC/CM process with the general contractor, Lewis, on construction, and the UW’s Real Estate Division on design of the retail spaces. This project was also the UW’s first LEED silver certified project.