This New UW Greenhouse Will House 9,000 Plant Specimens

This new University of Washington building offers a different environment for up-and-coming biologists

By Alanna Wight September 11, 2018

greenhouse

This article originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of Seattle magazine.

This article appears in print in the September 2018 issue. Click here to subscribe.

When the University of Washington’s 46,000 students return to class on September 26, biology majors will walk into a new 207,000-square-foot building devoted to the university’s most popular STEM major (600 undergraduate biology degrees are awarded each year). The interior of the five-story Life Sciences Building, located in the southwest corner of the UW’s main campus (3745 W Stevens Way NE), is unusual, featuring an open, flexible and modular design.

For a science that’s becoming more interactive and collaborative, Toby Bradshaw, chair of the UW biology department, says the design “encourages interactions among scientists that may result in unexpected discoveries.”

And students, he says, will benefit from direct engagement in the teaching labs with research faculty. What else makes this building unusual? It has a 14,000-square-foot greenhouse containing 9,000 plant specimens, including the corpse flower (so named because of its scent), a number of carnivorous plants and a few unique features promoting sustainability, such as solar glass fins that shade the offices and generate electricity. One could say the building is breathing new life into life sciences.

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