Adaptive Reuse Feature: Parrington Hall, University of Washington

According to the American Institute of Architecture, “90 percent of the future building inventory in the United States in 2025 already exists.” Adaptive reuse projects seek to renovate, retrofit, and reuse existing buildings to serve a new function. The approach of reusing existing structures aims to preserve historic and culturally rich built environments while modernizing building elements or programming. Adaptive reuse projects are becoming increasingly more prominent on college campuses and are a critical component of capital improvement plans.  

The University of Washington’s Long-Term Capital Plan aims to “make capital investments in existing buildings approximately equal to the facilities deterioration rate.” In other words, UW is shifting investment to the renewal of existing campus facilities to stabilize growth and deferred maintenance. Washington State University’s capital facilities department has also made similar commitments to future capital investment and planning. With the increase in adaptive reuse projects come unique design challenges and opportunities. 

Parrington Hall - Small LinkedIn Image2In 2021, the University of Washington’s Parrington Hall project was recognized with a National Merit Award in the Rehabilitation/Renovation/Restoration category by the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA). Parrington Hall was originally built in 1902 and is the second oldest building on UW Seattle’s Campus. The building needed programming reconfiguration and modernization to support the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance. AHBL's civil engineers, with support from its landscape architecture team, helped address site improvements such as parking retrofits and modifying pedestrian routes to meet UW’s accessibility requirements, and utility infrastructure improvements to support the programming changes. From creating a connected and seamless network of accessible pathways among an existing site to working to preserve Parrington Hall’s mature landscape and building character, AHBL’s team of engineers and designers learned alongside the progressive design-build team to achieve adaptive reuse success. 

Project Problem Solving: 

  • Team Solutions – With multiple renovations over the years, there were many layers of Parrington Hall to uncover and then fit back together. A key challenge was avoiding the City of Seattle’s substantial alteration requirements and minimizing disruption of existing utility infrastructure and avoidance of existing mature vegetation. Through collaboration with the University of Washington and key stakeholders, the design team was able to identify solutions that avoided triggering the substantial site work requirements by the City of Seattle saving UW time and money. 

  • Connecting project design and approach to overarching capital planning goals – The Parrington Hall adaptive reuse project challenged the progressive design-team to remain cognizant of UW’s capital planning vision and weave in concepts from the Campus’s Master Plan

  • Benefits of an Integrated Design Team – During permitting, UW requested the progressive design-build team to examine the feasibility of extending ADA-compliant walkways from Parrington Hall to a nearby arterial (Memorial Boulevard). AHBL and the progressive design-build team explored extending pedestrian improvements. The ADA walkway extension portion of the project was not pursued further but allowed for the opportunity to be vetted by the University for future consideration. 

Through collaboration with the University of Washington and key stakeholders, the design team was able to work together to deliver a successful project. This project is now the new model for how historic renovations will be managed on UW’s Seattle campus moving forward.  

Project Team: 

Client/Owner: University of Washington 

General Contractor: Absher Construction Company 

Architect: Integrus Architecture 

Back To News