light catcher, whatcom museum, green design, green roof, olson kundig architects, green museums, museums, sustainable museums, water  catchment systems, rain water systems, natural ventilation, pervious  paving, double-skin curtain wall glazing, public space

Showcasing a concept similar to the iconic Pompidou Center in Paris, the 42,000 sq ft addition features its systems on the outside. The aesthetic, however, is strikingly different, eschewing the colorful utilitarian contrast for a more sleek, subdued and light-infused structure.

At the heart of the new addition is the 36-foot-tall, 180-foot-long translucent Lightcatcher, a wall that not only bridges the interior and exterior and creates a spacious public courtyard, but above all forms an incredible eco-friendly light fixture that provides the interior spaces with an abundance of luminous natural light and ventilation. The completed museum utilizes locally available materials and is an excellent example of institutional design that is able to effectively minimize its eco-impact while maximizing the existing natural conditions of its site.

Housing exhibitions of art, Northwest history, and nature’s treasures, the Lightcatcher is the perfect spot to enjoy a splendid afternoon strolling within or an evening out on the green roof with family and friends!

+ Olson Kundig Architects