Constructed in 1896, Clark Hall is listed on the Washington Historic Register and stands as one of the oldest buildings on the University of Washington campus. Over its long history, this 3-story facility has supported the University in diverse roles. Clark Hall was originally constructed as a women’s dormitory, was later converted to the first student union, and has, since 1952, housed instructional programs for the Navy, Army, and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) as well as general university classrooms.
Mahlum’s design preserves the original character of the building and the contextual fabric of the campus environment. Cleaning, repair, and reinforcement of the load-bearing masonry facades, along with historic window replacement, achieve this goal while correcting seismic deficiencies and complying with current energy codes. Clark Hall’s envelope restoration and thermal upgrade strategy was developed using a highly technical, team-based approach. From boiling bricks to understand water absorption to using electron microscopes to figure out porosity, density and mineral content, our research and engineering work yielded a stabilized exterior envelope that continues to breathe with the addition of rock wool insulation and a ‘smart’ vapor retarder for increased comfort and energy performance.