The Burke Museum
The Burke Museum
The Burke Museum is the oldest public museum in Washington State with a collection of over 16 million artifacts and specimens, ranging from totem poles and gemstones to dinosaur fossils. Because the Burke’s collection is so wide-ranging and continues to grow – it is a collecting museum – the new building needed to serve as a coherent, effective container that would allow for flexibility over time. The building’s rational scheme holds the complexity of the Burke’s activities and collections, both now and into the future.
Another key design goal for the building was to create maximum transparency, making every part of the Burke exposed and part of the visitor experience. The design breaks down traditional museum barriers between public and “back-of-house” spaces, integrating collections and research labs with traditional galleries. Dual entrances help link the museum to its context, connecting to both the University of Washington campus and the surrounding community. A 24-foot-by-20-foot pivoting window wall continues the emphasis on transparency to literally open the Burke to the nature of a new outdoor courtyard. At its core, the mission of the Burke is to help everyone – curators, visitors, educators and students – make a connection with our natural world in all its complexities. The project certified LEED® Gold.
We wanted to create a simple, beautiful, rational and flexible building that will serve the Burke for hundreds of years. It is an inviting place not only for the public, but also for the scientists, researchers and curators of today and tomorrow.Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA
AIA Northwest and Pacific Region Design Awards, Honor Award
AIA Seattle Honor Awards for Washington Architecture, Award of Honor
AIA Washington Council Civic Design Awards, Honor Award
Architect’s Newspaper Best of Design Awards, Honorable Mention, Cultural
FX International Interior Design Awards, Winner, Museum or Exhibition Space
Gray Magazine Awards, Pacific Northwest Best of Show
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