New Burke construction updates

June 29, 2017
Burke Museum

Similar to the “inside-out” vision for the New Burke experience, we hope to provide a glimpse into the two-year construction of the New Burke Museum. Check this page periodically for notable construction updates and visit the New Burke Project page for answers to common questions about the project. The Burke Museum is open during construction of the New Burke! Plan your visit today. 

New burke June 5,2017

The New Burke on June 5, 2017.
Photo: Burke Museum

Siding being installed
June 29, 2017 – The exterior of the New Burke is really coming together, and with it comes the installation of siding! 

The vertical siding being installed on the New Burke is an eco-friendly wood composite called Kebony. When first applied, it is a rich brown color but slowly turns to more of a dark gray as it weathers. It compliments the New Burke’s shed-style roof inspired by the traditional structures of the Coast Salish people, the first people of Puget Sound.  

We’re closer to finishing the building’s exterior and getting to work on the interior of the New Burke now. It’s looking less like a construction site and more like a building these days! 

How the Kebony wood composite looks when it’s first applied

Photo: Burke Museum

How the Kebony wood composite will look after it’s weathered

Photo: Burke Museum

Crane de-installation

June 7, 2017 – There is one less crane in the Seattle skyline after crews removed the 39-meter-tall crane from the New Burke construction site on Saturday.

Since its installation nearly 10 months ago, the crane’s 70-meter-long jib has been in near-constant motion as it assisted with the heavy lifting and assembly of the New Burke structure (check out the "topping out" ceremony!). Now that the crane is no longer needed, crews are turning their attention to installing windows, siding and interior walls. 


One year of construction

May 18, 2017 – One year ago today, on May 18, 2016, we held our groundbreaking ceremony to officially kickoff construction of the New Burke Museum. A lot has changed in the past year! Check out our most recent time-lapse video of construction to see what the building looks like today.


Floors, walls and a shed-style roof

March 27, 2017 – The exterior walls of the New Burke are going up, the concrete floors have been poured, and windows are being installed.

Finishing the concrete floors of the New Burke.

The construction crew finishes the concrete floors.
Photo: Burke Museum

New Burke construction site

The view from inside the New Burke looking down and across 15th Ave NE.
Photos: Burke Museum

New Burke construction site

Inside the New Burke during construction.
Photos: Burke Museum

Photo of the New Burke's shed-style roof

The shed-style roof of the New Burke is taking shape.
Photo: Burke Museum

The outline of the shed-style roof is also emerging. The roofline of the New Burke was inspired by the traditional structures of the Coast Salish people, the first people of Puget Sound.

Model of a traditional Coast Salish longhouse

Model of a traditional Coast Salish longhouse by Burke Curator Emeritus Bill Holm. Cat. no. 2.5E1999.
Photo: Burke Museum

The houses and longhouses featured a single-pitch shed roof, with the high side often facing the water of the prevailing winds of the village. The shed-style roof is just one of many elements of the New Burke, design by Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig, which reflect the natural and cultural history of the Northwest and Washington state.

The steel structure is complete!

February 9, 2017 – We celebrated placing the final steel beams on the New Burke with a "Topping Out" ceremony


Steel, sunshine and snow

December 14, 2016 – This month's time-lapse video shows quite the wide range of weather crews have experienced—from sunny days to snow—while assembling the New Burke's exterior frame!

Structure is going up!

November 16, 2016  The New Burke is popping up… and fast! So far this week, the steel beams were delivered on site and crews got right to work assembling nearly 20% of the building’s steel structure in the past few days. It’s very exciting to see the building’s exterior frame beginning to take shape!

Steel structure goes up at New Burke construction site

The steel structure of the New Burke begins to take shape. Photo taken Wednesday, November 16, 2016.
Photo: Burke Museum

The three floors at the far north end of the building are nearly assembled at this point. Crews will continue to work their way from north to south, with the structure taking shape a little more each day. The south end of the building—the main entrance of the New Burke—will be four floors in total.

To give a sense of scale, the horizontal steel beams average 30-feet long while the average vertical columns are approximately 20-feet tall.

Watch the New Burke progress in this quick one-minute time-lapse video of construction October 25 - November 15, 2016:

Construction forges ahead despite rain

October 27, 2016 – The rain is upon us and it’s coming down harder than anyone anticipated! New Burke construction crews are making steady progress despite the dreary fall weather and the walls of the lower level are nearly complete.

Watch the walls go up in this quick one-minute time-lapse video of construction from September 19 – October 24, 2016:

In the coming month, crews will begin pouring the foundation and forming walls for the main level (there will be four total levels in the New Burke)!


New Burke walls going up

September 29, 2016 – The walls for the lower level of the New Burke started going up this week! Crews have poured more than 2,750,000 pounds of concrete at the construction site so far. 

Photo: Burke Museum

Photo: Burke Museum


September 26, 2016 — The New Burke foundation is coming together! Concrete mixer trucks have been cycling through the site, pouring more than 1,900,000 pounds of concrete to-date over the rebar cages for the footings on the lower level of the New Burke.

Pouring concrete

Photo: Burke Museum

See more of the New Burke construction progress from July 20 through September 16, 2016, in this quick time-lapse video.


Viewing platform open

September 26, 2016 — Get an up-close view of the New Burke construction site! Crews recently installed the viewing platform, a small structure near the base of the tower crane, to provide a place for curious people of all ages to stop and watch the construction progress whenever crews are on site or during museum hours.

New Burke viewing platform

Photo: Burke Museum

The viewing platform is situated near the base of the tower crane, between the existing Burke Museum building (by the back loading dock) and the new construction site. Stop by sometime and take a peek for yourself!

Night work

September 23, 2016 — Seattle Public Utilities is planning utility work along 15th Avenue NE over three weekends to minimize impacts to Metro Bus routes: 9/24–9/25; 10/1–10/2; and 10/8–10/19.


Crane Installation

August 3, 2016 — The tower crane that will lift all building materials for the New Burke was recently installed! Watch this quick time-lapse video of the crane coming together. The crane stands 39 meters tall and features a massive 70-meter-long jib that reaches across the New Burke construction site. 


Site preparation

August 1, 2016 — Nearly 18,000 cubic yards—the equivalent of seven Olympic-sized swimming pools—of soil, asphalt and other material have been moved at the New Burke site. In the next phase of construction, crews will begin pouring the footings to hold the structure of the building.

Check out this quick time-lapse video showing the site preparation progress through mid-July. To see more photos and progress, visit the New Burke Construction page on our website.

Night work

June 27, 2016 — Beginning this week, vehicles will haul away dirt from the New Burke construction site at night to avoid daytime traffic impacts. To ease potential impacts on the neighborhood, measures will be taken to reduce noise and all lighting will be pointed toward campus and away from nearby neighborhood buildings. Project officials expect the night work to last a few weeks. If you have a question, please contact Jeff Johnson, 206.391.9450.

New Burke site clearing progress. Photo taken June 17, 2016. 

Photo: Burke Museum

Site clearing

June 17, 2016 — Since the New Burke Groundbreaking Celebration on May 18, crews have been busy clearing the site. Construction required the removal of some trees this past week, and the New Burke landscape design calls for planting three new, native trees for every two trees that were removed.

The Burke will make every effort to mitigate this loss by re-using the wood from the felled trees. Wood from a large Madrone (Arbutus Menziesii) tree on the site will cover the walls of the east entrance to the New Burke, surrounding visitors as they embark on their museum experience.

Sven Haakanson, curator of North American anthropology, and Peter Lape, curator of archaeology, plan to use white pine and cedar from the New Burke site to build a replica of one or more of the kayaks in the Burke’s collection. They’ll also use the wood to carve traditional Native masks, spoons, paddles and more.

Sven Haakanson, curator of North American anthropology, salvages wood from a felled tree to carve traditional Native masks, spoons and more.
Photo: Burke Museum

Crews have installed temporary utilities to the site and are in the process of removing the asphalt. In the coming weeks, crews will build a second construction entrance on 15th Ave NE and begin excavating the north side of the site along NE 45th St.  

Site prep

May 2, 2016 — The fences are up around the UW’s N1 parking lot (home of the future New Burke building) and site prep has begun! 

Construction fences around the New Burke site.

Construction fences up around the New Burke site.

Back to Top