Evergreen State College Lecture Hall Renovation – Olympia, Washington

Olympia, WA

The $12M Purce Hall Renovation & Addition project involved 37,178 SF of historic renovation and addition on the occupied, Evergreen State College campus. The five original lecture halls were demolished and reconfigured into four large, tiered lecture halls to comply with ADA accessibility requirements. Additions included four classrooms, two seminar rooms, and a new entrance with built-in seating areas. Renovations included new mechanical, electrical, fire sprinkler, and fire-alarm systems, as well as new white boards, projectors, AV equipment and fully configurable furniture on wheels. The project was constructed to meet LEED Gold certification.

This project provided an interesting challenge – calling for preservation of this example of the Brutalist period of architecture, while adapting it into a modern, efficient, and accessible space. On the exterior, the concrete walls were retained to preserve the Brutalist characteristic, and the original reeded exterior was pressure-washed, cleaned, and re-sealed. The metal-wall panels on the addition have a recessed face that replicates the reeded pattern of the original walls. On the interior, the facility now emphasizes flexibility, with a variety of classroom, breakout, and utilitarian spaces. Several classrooms feature sliding glass partition doors facing the common space that can be opened to create larger spaces. The entrance addition with seating areas encourage student collaboration and break-out spaces. Finally, new windows and glazing brighten up the formerly dark space, providing a welcoming atmosphere that encourages learning.

Purce Hall Absher Construction from AbsherCo on Vimeo.

Quick Facts

  • $12,772,114
  • GC/CM
  • 37,178 SF
  • Owner: The Evergreen State College
  • Architect: ZGF Architects


  • The Evergreen State College