NU-Seattle Satellite Campus On Track For LEED Platinum

A new extension campus for Boston-based Northeastern University recently made a 3,000-mile journey to the Pacific Northwest to set up a new campus in Seattle. To fit in with the Emerald City vibe, the Northeastern University—Seattle campus is suitably green, with an eye on capturing a coveted LEED Platinum designation from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Designed by the Seattle office of design firm Perkins+Will, the extension “jewel box” campus is located in the rapidly developing South Lake Union neighborhood, where tech firms such as Amazon and Microsoft have also built new modern office space nearby. Northeastern—Seattle’s new campus will tap into the region’s brain trust, offering hybrid graduate degree offerings with local access to classroom courses.

The new Northeastern University-Seattle Campus expansion. Image by Benjamin Benschneider via Perkins+Will.

The new Northeastern University-Seattle Campus expansion. Image by Benjamin Benschneider via Perkins+Will.

The satellite campus, located entirely in a single office building, is designed to maximize the use of space on a small footprint. Because the building has 18-foot ceilings, the university was able to creating a mezzanine level for administrative offices. Each of these offices has a clear glass wall that provides views of the interior space, making the offices look and feel larger than they are. A student lounge also includes large interactive HD displays that can be accessed with university-provided iPads.

The high ceilings of the building allowed the university to add a mezzanine level. Image by Benjamin Benschneider via Perkins+Will.

The high ceilings of the building allowed the university to add a mezzanine level. Image by Benjamin Benschneider via Perkins+Will.

Some green building elements include the use of wood in the office walls, flooring and stair risers that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as being sustainably harvested, plus the use of low-VOC-emitting materials throughout the structure to ensure healthy indoor air quality. Large floor-to-ceiling glass windows draw in the maximum amount of Seattle’s notoriously finicky daylight to help reduce electricity use for artificial lighting.

According to Perkins+Will, the building’s various green elements an energy-efficient fixtures will likely be enough to earn LEED Platinum certification.

The project is also notable for sharing some leased space in the building with the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB). During the day, a large multipurpose room, designed by Perkins+Will in 2011, is used by ISB as office and seminar space. In the evenings, the room converts to a Northeastern University video-conference-enabled classroom.

Randy Woods is a Seattle-based writer and editor with 20+ years of experience in the business publishing world. A former managing editor of Seattle Business, iSixSigma, Claims and Waste Age magazines, he has covered topics that include newspaper publishing, entrepreneurism, green businesses, insurance, environmental protection and garbage hauling (yes, really). He also contributes to the Career Center Blog for The Seattle Times and edits a photography magazine called PhotoMedia. When not working, he likes to hide out in Seattle movie theaters and attend film festivals—even on sunny days.