Miller Hull

Newhouse Building Replacement

Olympia, Washington
The Newhouse Building Replacement will become a timeless structure where past meets present, state meets citizenry, and place meets policy.
Client Department of Enterprise Services (DES)
Completion 2025


The Newhouse Building has been a part of the State’s campus since 1934, and due to several life-safety and seismic issues, needs to be replaced.

As part of the legislative campus modernization (LCM), the State is in the process of updating many of its civic buildings, and is replacing Newhouse. However, because the campus’ primary architectural style is neo-classical, it is imperative that the Newhouse Building Replacement speak this same language to create an aesthetic consistency that reinforces the strength and spirit associated with Washington Statehood, while embodying a timelessness that fits the campus now and in the future.

The surrounding architecture on the state’s campus contains rigid proportions, like the three-five-two ration in which buildings have a base, a shaft, and a capital. But Miller Hull understands that these three parts can be interpreted in a number of ways, and we are exploring how architecture today might define these ratios, in addition to elements like axis, scale, proportion, repetition, symmetry, and color palette. As we investigate ways to reimagine historic design motifs for today’s technological capabilities, we are asking ourselves questions like: could shading necessary to mitigate heat gain create similar depth, repetition and proportion on the façade? Could we use a material that feels like the sandstone on the nearby buildings, yet allows for more efficient construction and energy performance? What can we salvage, both architecturally and symbolically? Aiming to abide by a number of governor-led initiatives which include an effort to achieve carbon neutrality reduction in greenhouse gas, Newhouse will be designed for net-zero readiness at the current LEED silver level.

As we work to revere and emulate the original architectural concept, we are also looking into other components to layer in, such as elements specific to the Washington state region (forest, beach, Palouse) and resource stewardship, using state-sourced materials like timber to support an ecological footprint and an economically sound state.

Newhouse is representative of a time-honored national process where legislation is made and state administration carried out, and the design is aimed to emphasize this magnitude while also accommodating the kind of functionality needed in any modern workplace. The replacement will contain four-stories of senate suites, caucus offices, a public meeting space, classrooms for high school students for public process and legislature education, and flexible space that can be used and rented by different groups. A centralized four-story stairwell illuminated by a skylight will thread these floors together, connecting spaces and departments, and becoming a mixing chamber in which faculty and statesmen can have impromptu collaborations.

As we work to develop the design, a very engaged stakeholder group with multiple backgrounds offers its input. Neighbors in Olympia who view the campus as a community amenity advocate for landscape design, pedestrian connections, and reduced traffic. Historic preservationists call for close attention to architectural adherence and minimal interventions. The City of Olympia, Seattle Friends of Olmsted Park, and the State’s own legislative staff and Capitol Campus Design Committee among others provide their regular feedback as well, prompting our team to employ a meticulous balancing act to ensure all needs are met, all input respected.

An honest mosaic of design concepts and time periods, the Newhouse Building Replacement will reimagine itself, reinterpreting historic ideals, legislating current ones, and serving the people of Washington state.

Project Team

Architect: The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP
Contractor: Hoffman Construction Company
Structural Engineer: Lund Opsahl
Civil Engineer: Reid Middleton
MEP Engineer: PAE Consulting Engineers
Landscape Architect: Murase Associates
Envelope Consultant: 4EA Building Science
Security Consultant: Hohbach-Lewin
Lighting Designer: Dark | Light 
Signage: Mayer Reed
Vertical Transportation Consultant: The Greenbusch Group
Transportation Consultant: Heffron Transportation
Acoustical Consultant: BRC Acoustics
Building Code Consultant: Pielow Consulting
Cost Consultant: JMB Consulting Group
Historic Preservation: BuildingWork