Western Washington University's Kaiser Borsari Hall Project Wins Bronze Holcim Award  

WWU's new Kaiser Borsari Hall, now under construction, will house Western's electrical engineering and computer science departments, among others. The project has been recognized for its sustainable design by the Holcim Foundation.
WWU's new Kaiser Borsari Hall, now under construction, will house Western's electrical engineering and computer science departments, among others. The project has been recognized for its sustainable design by the Holcim Foundation.

Bellingham, WA / Venice, Italy — At a ceremony in Venice, Italy on November 18, the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction recently awarded Western Washington University’s Kaiser Borsari Hall project and the design team at Perkins&Will a “Bronze Award” for the North American region, one of only two projects in the United States and the only university building globally to win a Holcim Award this year. The Holcim Awards recognize “diverse and innovative real-world approaches to creating a more sustainable built environment.”  

“We are honored by this international recognition for Kaiser Borsari Hall and are so grateful to our partners at Perkins&Will and Mortenson for their excellent work bringing the vision to life,” said Joyce Lopes, Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs. “We are strongly committed to reducing our carbon footprint at Western and hope that Kaiser Borsari Hall can serve as inspiration and prototype for more sustainable buildings on university campuses across the country.” 

Kaiser Borsari Hall is designed to meet the International Living Future Institute’s “smart building” standards, the first university STEM building in the United State to track zero energy and zero carbon certification through the institute. It will achieve a 63% reduction in embodied carbon over conventional construction methods and a 100% reduction in operational carbon, using a mass timber structure and rooftop solar panels for on-site energy generation. The Holcim Awards 2023 Jury for North America noted, “The project considers functionality and sustainability, and successfully pushes boundaries for the integration of engineering systems and energy storage.” 

The location of the site adjacent to the Sehome Arboretum allows the use of native and climate-adaptive plants to form a habitat bridge between the arboretum and the campus core. The landscaping will also help reduce stormwater runoff and outdoor water use.  

Kaiser Borsari Hall will house electrical and computer engineering, energy science, including the nation’s only undergraduate program in energy studies, and computer science. Its high-performance design will serve as a living laboratory for cross-disciplinary collaboration and hands-on learning. Construction is scheduled for completion in early 2025.  


About Western Washington University 

Western Washington University offers more than 200 academic programs on its main campus located in Bellingham, and at additional sites in Anacortes, Bremerton, Everett, Port Angeles and Poulsbo. 

Western is recognized nationally for its successes, such as being named one of the top public master’s-granting institutions in the Pacific Northwest for 25 years in a row by U.S. News & World Report. The report also ranks WWU in the top 10 in the West—a region encompassing more than 500 public colleges and universities from Texas to the West Coast—and also spotlights Western as among the best colleges for veterans. 

WWU is identified as among the most sustainable, green campuses in the nation by the Sierra Club, is known for being a top producer of prestigious National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hollings Scholars, Fulbright Scholars, and Peace Corps volunteers, and nationally ranked for graduates who go on to earn research doctorates. The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Academic Workplace report named Western as one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, winning honors in two categories: teaching environment and tenure clarity and process. Western is proud to be a nationally recognized First Gen Forward institution.  


About Perkins&Will 

Perkins&Will, an interdisciplinary, research-based architecture and design firm, was founded in 1935 on the belief that design has the power to transform lives. The firm is committed to creating a better, beautiful, more equitable world through Living Design, an approach that integrates environmental, social, and design considerations to advance ecological health and well-being. Architizer named Perkins&Will the world’s “Best Sustainable Firm” in 2023, and Metropolis named it “Firm of the Year” in 2022 for its industry leadership in advancing climate action and social justice. Fast Company named Perkins&Will one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in Architecture three times, and in 2021, it added the firm to its list of Brands That Matter—making Perkins&Will the first architecture practice in the world to earn the distinction.   

With an international team of more than 2,500 professionals, Perkins&Will has 30 studios worldwide, providing integrated services in architecture, interior design, branded environments, urban design, and landscape architecture. Partners include Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects; Portland; Nelson\Nygaard; and Pierre-Yves Rochon (PYR). For more information, visit www.perkinswill.com.  


Media Contacts 

Jonathan Higgins 
WWU Communications