March 19, 2015

For high-resolution photos, interviews, and more information please contact:

Burke Museum Public Relations

Skanska announced as the general contractor/construction manager for new Burke Museum

Skanska will construct a new facility for the Burke Museum, the Washington State Museum of Natural History and Culture.

Burke PR

As a project managed by the Capital Projects Office of the University of Washington, Skanska was selected using the General Contractor/Construction Manager (GC/CM) alternative public works contracting procedure.

Designed by Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects, the new facility will be situated along 15th Ave NE between NE 43rd St. and NE 45th St., along the west side of the current Burke/N1 parking lot on UW's Seattle campus. The new, 110,000 sq. ft. building will be 60% larger than the current museum, allowing more room for exhibits and education spaces, research labs and collections storage.

In the current 69,000 sq. ft. facility, constructed in 1962, collections are severely compressed in spaces that lack necessary environmental controls, putting hundreds, thousands, even millions of years of scientific data and cultural heritage at risk. Since the early 1990s, the Burke has worked to solve these serious building issues: remodel and expansion options have been studied and rejected due to cost and feasibility.

The new museum will simultaneously ensure the longevity of Washington’s natural and cultural heritage collections and take science and cultural education to the next level. The new museum will display much more of the Burke’s vast collections, and allow visitors and students to see scientists and researchers at work and engage in the dynamic process of scientific and cultural discovery. The “New Burke” will be a flagship natural history museum that inspires wonder and pride about the Northwest and our place in the world.

Design of the new building and site is still being finalized. However, planned elements include: a two-story entrance atrium featuring large, iconic Northwest objects; visible collections storage and labs; an indoor-outdoor café; a Native plant garden; and an open courtyard that will accommodate both parking and community events. Planned sustainability features include stormwater capture and re-use and a ground source heat loop, which will help reduce carbon emissions to below the level of the current building, despite the 60% increase in the size of the new facility. The facility is on track to achieve LEED Gold status.

Construction of the new facility is expected to take 18-24 months, after which collections will be moved to the new building. The museum intends to break ground on the new facility in late 2015 and open in late 2018 or 2019, dependent on fundraising progress.

For more information about the New Burke project, visit the New Burke page.

New Burke Leadership
Jan & Jack Creighton, Honorary Co-Chairs, Campaign for the New Burke 
Mike & Lynn Garvey, Honorary Co-Chairs, Campaign for the New Burke 
Greg Blume, Co-Chair, Campaign for the New Burke 
Mary Dunnam, Co-Chair, Campaign for the New Burke 
Ellen Ferguson, Co-Chair, Campaign for the New Burke 
John Kincaid, President, Burke Museum Association 
Julie K. Stein, Executive Director, Burke Museum

New Burke Partners 
Collins Group, Fundraising Counsel 
Evidence Design, Exhibit Design 
Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Landscape Architecture 
Olson Kundig, Architecture 
Oxbow Organic Farm and Education Center
Skanska, General Contractor/Construction Manager 
University of Washington

For interviews and high resolution images, contact


For high-resolution photos, interviews, and more information please contact:

Burke Museum Public Relations

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