Eastern Washington University, Pence Union Building

  • Prize
    Winner in Architectural Design - Educational
  • Company/Firm
  • Lead Designer
    Ryan Bussard - Design Principal
  • Design Team
    Anthony Gianopoulos - Managing Principal, David Damon - Student Life Principal
  • Architect
  • Interior Designer
    Jennifer Miller-Uzdavinis - Senior Interior Designer
  • Lighting Designer
    Blanca Lighting
  • Const. Company
    Leone & Keeble
  • Photographer Credit
    Kevin Scott
  • Location
    Cheney, Washington
  • Client
    Eastern Washington University
  • Project Date
    December 2018
  • Project Link

The Pence Union Building (PUB) redesign renovates and rebuilds the existing footprint of the original 120,000-square-foot building, built in 1968. The new renovation and addition transformed the outdated student union into a state-of-the-art, light-filled and amenity-rich space, creating a home away from home for students at Eastern Washington University.

Previously called one of the 20 “most appalling excuses for architecture on college campuses” by MSNBC, the PUB has been described by students as “dark,” “confusing” and “maze-like,” and in dire need of an upgrade. The original architecture was based on trends from prevailing student union models of its time.

The redesign turns the 1968 approach on its heels and creates an easy-to-navigate, open-concept layout that is infused with natural light. A contemporary addition of aluminum, glass, and wood connects the structure from inside and out and knits the salvaged elements into a seamless whole. Expansive glass walls line a new atrium space to ensure the student organizations are highly visible.