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Academic Instructional Center, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington
 
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Academic Instructional Center
Western Washington University
Bellingham, Washington
Designed to accommodate the consolidation and growth of the Communications Sciences and Disorders (CSD) and Psychology Departments, and also provide sorely needed general classrooms, the new Academic Instructional Center (AIC) is a 126,000-square-foot building with 725 classroom seats. The AIC will create appropriate spaces and convenient locations for public clinics run by the CSD and Psychology Departments and visited by on- and off-campus users. The AIC's location just south of the Communications Facility defines the southeast edge of the new South Quad and becomes a gateway building for the WWU campus.
Designed in two sections, the building creates a central covered passageway that will allow students to walk between portions of the building as they enter the campus. The three-story western portion is low in scale to relate to the new diagonal walkway created for the campus, while the mass of the eastern building's five stories is diminished by its position and location. The two sections of the building are connected by a bridge that will also provide informal study areas for students. A collaborative center in the eastern portion features multiple computer ports and allows for Wi-Fi access as students lounge and study. Led by NAC Architecture, the Academic Instructional Center team includes design architect Opsis Architecture.
Awards
2009 Civic Design Honor Award, AIA Washington Council