University of Washington
Information School

The University of Washington iSchool staff and faculty are growing to meet research demands and to keep pace with enrolment, so when an opportunity for expansion arose, the iSchool engaged Buffalo Design to create new space reflective of their core values: openness, collegiality, and collaboration. But the opportunity came in an unlikely form, a former forestry lab in the basement of Bloedel Hall, some distance from the iSchool’s current home.

With the Dean’s sponsorship we collaborated with staff, faculty and students to transform the given space and apply new concepts in interactive learning. At the heart of their new space is a multifunctional learning hub designed to accommodate meetings, presentations, and casual, interactive learning. Collaboration spaces ring the learning hub where students and faculty discuss projects and ideas in a variety of settings. Opportunities to display research projects through electronic and passive media are available throughout. And focused, quiet study is nearby for research faculty, staff and students.

A commons brings people from the original and new locations together around a communal table. A variety of flexible lounge and café tables. Oak doors and lumber from the old forestry lab are repurposed as ceiling finishes, tables, and dividers.

We created new universal design standards for office furniture and collaboration space furnishings active staff participation. Creative design and the incorporation of universal design standards allow continued opportunities for change. Significant moves away from traditional classrooms and private offices meant the management and communication of changes would be critical to the project’s success. The iSchool is about sharing information and communication at its core, so Buffalo Design had an excellent partner in change management.






Christine Chaney Creative
UW iSchool photography ©Francis Zera /