Academic Instructional Center

Western Washington University

Prominently sited to define the arrival experience of the WWU south campus, the iconic Academic Instructional Center weaves natural and built features to complete the adjacent quad and allow a major campus pedestrian pathway to bisect the building.

Size: 127,000 sf
Location: Bellingham, WA
Stats: LEED Certified
Design Architect: Opsis Architecture
Architect of Record: NAC Architecture

2009, AIA Washington Council, Civic Design Honor Award
2009, AIA Portland, Merit Design Viewer’s Choice

The Academic Instructional Center is organized into the west wing, containing general campus lecture halls, computer labs and classrooms, and the east wing for graduate research labs and faculty offices for the graduate schools of Psychology and Communication Sciences Disorders.

The two wings are connected by a dramatic glass enclosed “collaborative learning bridge,” an extension of the two-story commons that provides a variety of student collaboration areas ranging from individual to group study.  

In addition to providing much needed classroom space, computer labs, and 750 classroom seats at the south end of the campus, the AIC includes space for the public clinics run by the SCD and Psychology Departments.

The LEED certified Academic Instructional Center is one the largest naturally ventilated academic buildings in the country and a national model for passive green design strategies.

Opsis provided the predesign report for this project and was subsequently selected as the design architect, with NAC|Architecture as the executive architect.