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June 17, 2009

Burke Museum Announces Building Project

Olson Kundig Architects Selected for Pre-design Study


The University of Washington Board of Regents has approved a recommendation to contract with Olson Kundig Architects on a pre-design study for the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Washington.

The pre-design is the precursor to a major expansion of the museum, which currently occupies a 1962 campus building. The study will clarify facility needs and evaluate options for improvements that could involve renovation, expansion, or a brand new facility at the current campus. The pre-design will begin in July and be completed by the end of December 2009.

Seattle-based Olson Kundig Architects is the 2009 winner of the American Institute of Architects' National AIA Firm Award. This annual award – often referred to as the "Firm of the Year" award – is the highest honor the national AIA bestows on an architectural firm and recognizes a firm that has consistently produced distinguished architecture for at least ten years. Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen also has experience designing Seattle-area museums, including the Wing Luke Asian Museum (2008) and the Frye Art Museum (1997). For more about the firm, visit: www.oskaarchitects.com

International award-winning architect Tom Kundig will be lead designer for the Burke Museum project. Kundig is the recipient of the 2008 "National Design Award in Architecture Design" from the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the 2007 Academy Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and has won seven National AIA Institute Honor Awards. Kundig holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Washington.

Burke Director Dr. Julie Stein notes, "The pre-design study will begin a process that will ultimately ensure that all residents and visitors to the Pacific Northwest enjoy access to Washington State's premier collection of natural history and cultural heritage."

The Burke Museum was founded in 1885 and is the Washington State museum of natural history and cultural heritage, with more than 12.5 million objects in the collections. Over 100,000 visitors come to the museum each year, including 30,000 school children. The University of Washington has been the home of the Burke Museum since 1899; the Burke's research divisions include anthropology, biology, and geology, with curators who actively conduct research throughout the world.


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Exterior view of the museum at dusk
Exterior view of the museum at dusk
Photo by Gabe Kean