Establishing a new type of venue for interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation
Client University of Washington
Certifications Pursuing LEED Gold Certification and Fitwel Certification
Size 300,000 SF
The groundbreaking Hans Rosling Center for Population Health is a hybrid facility designed to respond directly to the mission of the University of Washington’s (UW) Population Health Initiative – a 25-year vision to address the most persistent and emerging challenges affecting human health, environmental resilience and social and economic equity across the globe. Brought to life by the progressive design-build team of The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP and Lease Crutcher Lewis, the building supports this goal by bringing related yet disparate specialties together in the pursuit of global health and a world where all people can live healthier and more fulfilling lives.
The UW launched the Population Health Initiative in 2016 and soon after commissioned a building to help drive solutions for healthier populations. Completed in October 2020, the Hans Rosling Center is a new hub where scientists, researchers and faculty work together to address some of the world’s most significant challenges like poverty, equity, health-care access, climate change and government policy.
The Hans Rosling Center is located between two campus precincts – Historic Campus to the east and an emerging Innovation District to the west, each with distinctly different sites and architectural context. The building’s bold expression faces west, conveying the audacity and optimism of the Population Health Initiative. Though physically static, the 3-foot-deep glass fins create a dynamic expression, providing a sense of energetic movement for pedestrians and acting as a shaded canvas for changing light conditions throughout the day. A more subtle expression faces east made from custom pre-cast panels that incorporate aggregate to match neighboring buildings. and provide a backdrop for lush landscape lining the area’s new Garden Walk. More subdued fins address a need for shade in the morning but blend sensitively with neighboring context.
Designing a building that empowers users to do their best work means considering multiple modes of engagement to provide spaces that not only perform but inspire. The Hans Rosling Center balances many elements, creating flexible spaces that are conducive to focused individual work and interdisciplinary collaboration and gathering. By shaping spaces that enable tenants to engage within, between and beyond their own disciplines, the facility supports its users’ needs, which allows them to enhance and elevate their work.
Incidentally, many of the tenants are contributing to national projections and response strategies related to COVID-19. Inside, spaces are conceived as an idea laboratory that encourages mixed collaboration. A series of large, multi-story reception areas serve double-duty as informal meeting and campus drop-in spaces. Floors three through eight are dedicated to research, data analysis and visualization with a variety of space types: open workstations, group collaboration areas, remote conference spaces and shared enclosed offices. All space types are derived from a set of scalable modules that are able to adapt to future changes in headcount or activity.
Interacting with teams
Each tenant in the Hans Rosling Center is known for their health-related contributions and have been doing groundbreaking work for decades. The office floors of the building are organized to ensure that individual teams continue these crucial breakthroughs. A set of four office types provide a variety of work styles and are organized as a collection of neighborhoods. This configuration provides proximity and density for teammates. Shared offices and meeting rooms are easily transformable over time. Intermittent view corridors through the building host areas for individual reflection or dynamic collaboration.
Intermingling between groups
The building encourages intermingling between groups, as casual interactions can often spark innovative ideas and opportunities. To break down artificial social barriers while preserving a sense of identity, the building democratizes shared social spaces at the center of each floor, linked by an interconnecting stair. In addition, rooftop terraces and outdoor seating areas at grade encourage both large and small communal gatherings alongside individual reflection.
Impacting beyond the building
Improving population health requires a breadth of diverse audiences, both on and off campus. An emphasis on working together is visible to those who encounter the Hans Rosling Center, the building and site working together to foster an inviting atmosphere through materiality and texture. Overhangs shape the exterior spaces and oversized openings within the building tie those spaces to their exterior counterparts. Physical barriers between the public spaces and working areas are minimized to maintain visual connections. Art and storytelling elements are integrated throughout the facility and speak to both the building’s mission and the occupants’ mission, creating opportunities for education and inspiration.
The completion of the Hans Rosling Center marks a momentous occasion for the design-build delivery method and the UW as the first and largest integrated design-build project to complete on campus, changing the way future projects are delivered. This method encourages teams to embrace elements of integrated project delivery, as well as lean design and construction – techniques developed to create efficiency while maximizing value and minimizing waste. Once selected for the project, Miller Hull, Lease Crutcher Lewis and team partners simultaneously developed a design and moved through construction, also known as progressive design-build, engaging the UW throughout the entire process.
The project finished on time, much faster than previous projects, added about $8 million of enhancements during construction and completed $6.5 million under budget – all of which was almost unheard of previously. Since the Hans Rosling Center ushered in this approach, the UW has continued to use the progressive design-build delivery method, repeatedly seeing better success and better savings compared to traditional delivery processes.