Whatcom Community College Syre Student Center

Prominently positioned at the head the campus green, this new 36,000 square foot building consolidates under one roof a variety of student services and recreational activities that were previously scattered across the campus. Today, The Syre Student Center serves as the central social hub for WCC students and faculty; it is the vibrant and beloved heart of the WCC campus, enriching the lives of students and the entire WCC community. Flexibility is key to the design. The auditorium can transform from a formal 500-seat performance space to a smaller meeting room or even smaller study hall. Buttresses visually and spatially define the balcony, creating niches perfect for group meetings or a quick nap. Adjacent indoor and outdoor spaces allow for more choices in seating, dining, studying, and socializing. Walls of windows seamlessly link interior and exterior space. The glass-enclosed rooftop dome serves as both an illuminating light well during the day and as a warm and beckoning beacon at night.

The success of this project required skillful design leadership and a complex collaboration with many stakeholders including students, faculty, staff, and community members. We drew upon input from the community, sensitivity to context, and knowledge of programming for 21st century learning spaces to achieve a successful outcome. A flexible framework accommodates changing needs, thereby increasing effectiveness and lifespan.

Location   Bellingham, Washington
Status   Completed in 2000
Team   Rick Sundberg | Principal-in-Charge and Lead Designer while at Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen
Size   36,600 sf
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