Lightcatcher Building: Whatcom Museum, Seatte

Lightcatcher Building, Whatcom Museum, Seattle Building, Photo, Washington Design, Image

Whatcom Museum Development, Washington

Lightcatcher Building, Bellingham, USA – design by Olson Kundig Architects

Apr 1, 2010

Whatcom Museum Bellingham

Lightcatcher Building at the Whatcom Museum

Bellingham, WA

Design: Olson Kundig Architects

Designed by Olson Kundig Architects’ founding partner, Jim Olson, the Lightcatcher is named for its focal point and most innovative feature-a spectacular, translucent wall 37 feet high and 180 feet long that captures the Northwest’s most precious natural resource, sunlight. The building utilizes natural materials endemic to the region and will be the first museum in Washington designed and registered to LEED Silver-Level specifications.

Lightcatcher Building Whatcom Museum Lightcatcher Building Whatcom Museum Design
images : Benjamin Benschneider

At the heart of the project, the “lightcatcher” gently curves to form a spacious exterior courtyard, bridging the Museum’s interior and exterior spaces. During daylight hours, the light-porous wall floods the halls and galleries inside with a warm luminosity, serving as a beautiful, eco-friendly, and energy-saving light fixture that will also help to ventilate the building. The elegant wall also reflects light into the Garden of the Ancients, the Museum’s courtyard that is destined to become one of Bellingham’s most active public spaces. In the evening, the lightcatcher glows with the changing colors of the structure’s interior illumination. Lantern-like, it provides a warm and welcoming beacon to the community, as well as an attractive new civic feature downtown.

Lightcatcher Building Lightcatcher Building Washington Lightcatcher Building USA
photos : Tim Bies/Olson Kundig Architects

“The lightcatcher wall celebrates the Northwest glass movement and glows like a yellowish agate from a nearby beach. I wanted to soften light like our clouds and create a sense of mystery like our mist and fog. It is also a glowing beacon at night,” says Olson. “The colors of the exterior and galleries reflect the bark of our trees and the rocks on our beaches, the ceilings reference weathered driftwood, and silver metal details reflect the Northwest’s ‘oyster light’.”

Whatcom Museum Building Whatcom Museum Washington Whatcom Museum USA
images : Benjamin Benschneider

Lightcatcher Building Whatcom Museum images / information from Olson Kundig Architects

Olson Kundig Architects


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Lightcatcher Building Whatcom Museum