Discovery Hall, University of Washington Bothell

Tetra Tech’s High Performance Buildings Group provided mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) services for the design of Discovery Hall. This sustainable building has energy-efficient features including radiant heating and cooling, natural ventilation, solar thermal hot water, an optimized envelope, rainwater harvesting, and optimized daylighting.


  • Size: 74,000 square feet
  • Construction Cost: $68 million
  • Owner: University of Washington
  • Architect: Hacker
  • Contractor: Holder Construction
  • Completion Date: 2014


As the University of Washington, Bothell, enrollments continued to rise, the school recognized the need to expand its facilities not only to accommodate a growing number of students, but also to provide cutting-edge learning environments to maintain that growth and keep a focus on safety.

The university worked with Tetra Tech to develop the 74,000-square-foot facility that houses 11 science labs, 430 classroom seats, 250 laboratory seats, a 200-seat lecture hall, a metal shop, a wood shop, a cold room, faculty offices, and conference rooms. While many lab spaces require 100 percent of outside air be exhausted to prevent buildup of particles that can prove harmful to the space and its occupants, Tetra Tech recommended an active chilled beam that expels only a third of exterior air but still maintains safe conditions and provides significant energy savings. Other building features include high-efficiency condensing boilers and lighting systems that save energy at 15 percent above code. These efforts contributed to the design team's win of the 2014 American Institute of Architects Honor Award of Merit.

The project, which is designed to reach LEED Gold, set a new standard for future builds on the University of Washington campuses. Tetra Tech’s MEP teams also helped design spaces that would be ready for future retrofits and expansions. As its student population grows and new sustainability technologies become available, Discovery Hall will be positioned to remain a cutting-edge facility for years to come.

Images courtesy of Lara Swimmer