The Blueprint for Tomorrow's Campus
Internationally acclaimed architects Tom Kundig and Kirsten Murray have designed award-winning buildings nationally and internationally for art collectors and universities, museums and cultural centers, civic projects and places of worship. Now they are lending their talents to Heritage University, designing both the institution’s master campus plan and the buildings to replace Petrie Hall.
When fire destroyed Petrie Hall, Heritage’s oldest building, it took with it classrooms and computer labs, the university’s information technology infrastructure, the bookstore, and the cafeteria. While temporary buildings were brought in and services quickly restored, there remained a sense of incompleteness to the campus. Thankfully, the university soon will be whole again as Heritage begins new construction on replacement facilities.
According to Heritage University President John Bassett, the university expects to break ground on three new facilities sometime in late fall. They will include a building containing classrooms, computer labs and an art studio where Petrie Hall once stood; another building in the center of campus for a cafeteria, dining room and bookstore; and a structure dedicated to information technology on the southwest quadrant of campus. Far from being merely a replacement, the new construction is the foundation for the university’s long-term master plan.
“We were working on a campus master plan long before losing Petrie,” said Frank Padilla, chair of the board of directors’ facilities committee. “The fire forced us to think really long term and talk about what the campus would look like using the replacement of Petrie as a center point. We want to be strategic, to build something that will serve students well into the future.”
To help with this process, Heritage contracted with Olson Kundig Architects to design both the university’s master
plan and the replacement buildings.
“Olson Kundig’s sensitivity to place, the Yakima Valley, and to the functional needs of our growing campus was paramount to our selecting them for this project,” said Bassett. “Their designs are innovative and their creative approach to improving the density of the campus will add greatly to our students’ overall academic experience.”
The master plan builds on the university’s existing structures. Over time, campus expansions will increase density around a series of academic hubs. The idea, said Kundig, is to create a sense of community where students feel comfortable, safe and engaged with each other and the faculty.
“Good design is about creating a support, a foundation to the really important things that happen on the campus,” said Kundig. “The buildings are really more of a background.”
In their designs of the replacement buildings, Murray explained that she and Kundig didn’t move too far from the look of the existing buildings on campus. She describes the new designs as “intentionally simple and elegant” with brick façades and metal roofs akin to what is found on the library and the Arts and Sciences Center. This simplicity will be easy to expand upon as the university grows and instigates future phases of the master plan, she said.