Shaw Island, WA | 2004

605 SM | 6500 SF

“I give and devise all of the land I own on Shaw Island in San Juan County, Washington…that the premises herein devised shall forever be held, used and maintained as a nature preserve for scientific, educational, research and aesthetic purposes, and shall be kept in their natural state without disturbance of the native plant, bird and animal populations and habitat. It is my wish that this land shall become a part of Cedar Rock Preserve established pursuant to my deed of December 4, 1975.”

- Robert H. Ellis, Jr.

Cedar Rock Biological Preserve, given to the University of Washington as a gift from Robert H. Ellis, Jr., is dedicated for use as a natural preserve for scientific and educational research and for promoting the values of natural environments.  With an increased urgency towards the restoration, documentation and preservation of the 370 acres that comprise the reserve, it has become apparent that there is a substantial need for the construction of a research and learning center on the preserve. 

The center will house three full-time researchers and will also have space for groups of students who will be directly involved in the preservation and rehabilitation of the preserve.  The research staff will be required to stay a minimum of a three-month period, while student groups will be encouraged to stay a minimum of one week on site.  These requirements help to reduce the physical impact on the site, and give the residents a greater connection to the Shaw Island community as well as the preserve. The program includes Research and Laboratories, including herbarium activites; private officess, meeting rooms, outreach education, computer labs, living quartes for long and short term faculty and support spaces. 

The project responds to the site's unique character. Topography, wind direction, rainfall, distant views and sunlight inform the arrangement of programmatic elements. The ample roof is designed to harvest enough rainwater to maintain a steady supply to serve researchers and visitors throughout the year.