UW Today

January 26, 2011

UW pledges $5 million to help make ‘Intellectual House a reality

The University of Washington has pledged $5 million to match gifts made to support the $10.6 million UW Intellectual House budget, Vice President for Minority Affairs and Vice Provost for Diversity Sheila Edwards Lange announced.

An artist's rendering of the planned Intellectual House.

The Intellectual House, formerly known as the House of Knowledge, also received a new Coast Salish name from the late Vi Hilbert, an esteemed elder of the Upper Skagit Tribe. The name is a Lushootseed language word that means Intellectual House.

The longhouse-style facility will be built in parking lot N6 near McMahon Hall. Scheduled to open in 2014, the 19,000-square foot facility will provide a multi-service learning and gathering space for Native American students, faculty, staff, and others from various cultures and communities.

An artist's rendering of the planned Intellectual House as seen from the air.

It will feature a large central gathering space, meeting and classroom space, student lounge, computer and resource room, kitchen, and office space.  The Intellectual House is expected to help UW improve recruitment, retention, and graduation rates for Native students, while honoring the regions tribes.

“The UWs pledge of $5 million in matching funds demonstrates the Universitys commitment to realizing this 35-year dream of having a longhouse-style building, a ‘home away from home for Native students, built on the Seattle campus,” said Charlotte Coté, UW associate professor of American Indian studies and chair of the Intellectual House Planning and Advisory Committee.

The name is a Lushootseed language word that means Intellectual House.

The name is a Lushootseed language word that means Intellectual House.

The planning and design of the facility has involved tribes, elders, students, and the community.  The project is led by the Intellectual House Planning and Advisory Committee, comprised of UW faculty, staff, students and regional tribal representatives.

Seattle-based Jones & Jones is the project architect, known for designing the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., as well as campus longhouse facilities at the University of Oregon, Evergreen State College and North Idaho College. Johnpaul Jones, the firms founding partner, has a distinguished 40-year career and a design philosophy that stems from his Cherokee-Choctaw ancestry.

The state provided $300,000 in pre-design funding for the UW Intellectual House and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation will donate lumber worth an estimated $91,000.

More information is available on the Intellectual House website.