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photo of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center
Photo: Kevin Scott / Olson Kundig

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center

Seattle, Washington

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center

Seattle, Washington

  • Design Principal

    Alan Maskin

  • Principal

    Stephen Yamada-Heidner

The vision behind the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center is to educate, inspire, and motivate people through storytelling – sharing the work of others who are focused on improving the lives of people around the globe. Through interactive exhibits, visitors can investigate some of the challenges facing the world, learn how people are tackling those problems, and explore their own ideas and solutions to challenges that matter to them.

Inside, a series of five galleries lead the visitor through an exploration of the foundation’s history where interactive investigations are designed to inspire action. The galleries and exhibits are organized through a system of large, free-standing steel armatures; exhibits plug into the armature framework unifying the aesthetic throughout the exhibit and facilitating the potential for future change.

By integrating a hierarchy of scale, space and material into the exhibits, the design brings dimensionality and attention to the many people and partners touched by the foundation in discrete, easily understood segments. With an emphasis on ideas, the design seeks to create a personal relationship between the visitor and the mission and work of the foundation and those it supports.

The design was inspired by the Foundation’s belief that ‘Today’s problems are solvable.’ Thus, both high‑tech digital and low‑tech mechanical interactives serve as methods to engage visitors. Alan Maskin




AAM Awards, Excellence in Exhibition Label Writing

AIGA (re)design awards, AIGA (re)design Award

Communication Arts Interactive Design, Winner, Environmental

INSIDE Awards, Display Finalist

Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, Project of the Month: September

SEGD Global Design Awards, Merit Award

World Architecture Festival, Display Finalist

World Interiors News Annual Awards, Finalist, Museum & Exhibit Design