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Exterior of the completed National Nordic Museum building. (Photo by Bruce Damonte)

National Nordic Museum

Seattle, Washington

Completed: 2018

This 3-story, 57,875-square-foot building in Seattle’s historically Scandinavian Ballard neighborhood overlooks a working waterfront. The structure was built to relocate the National Nordic Museum’s ever-expanding temporary and permanent exhibits from its leased space in an old school building to a larger, more accessible location. In addition to plenty of exhibition space, the new museum also features an auditorium, multiple classrooms, collections storage, a center for cultural resources, café, gift shop, and administrative offices.

Project architectural firm Mithun partnered with Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa to design the space in a way that accentuates the rich history of the museum’s represented cultures. Nordic touches are found throughout the building, and the glacier-white walls of the ground-floor corridor are reminiscent of Scandinavian fjords. Building envelope components include a mixture of zinc panels and through-color fiber cement rainscreens. Aluminum-framed curtain walls and storefront systems give the exterior a sleek, modern look. The National Nordic Museum is currently pursuing LEED® Silver certification.

JRS provided design review consulting services related to environmental separation and overall building envelope performance for this project.