Washington State University

Compton Union Building

Pullman, Washington

The renovation and expansion of the 1952 Compton Union Building (CUB) presented challenges that were not only practical but emotional, economical and historical, including how best to preserve the cultural aspects of the building in a cost effective manner, while meeting the mandate to completely modernize it. The CUB holds a special place in the history of the campus and in the minds of students, alumni and faculty. Accordingly, our approach respects and incorporates elements of the past while also presenting a new and invigorated appearance, inside and out. The renewed CUB provides a new front door, underlining its prominence through scale and massing; an improved student mall with operable doors extending interior lounge space to the exterior; a stairway “link” between the building and the adjacent stadium, along with a viewing platform; and a fully renovated interior filled with student-focused spaces, each with its own image and identity. Color is used throughout the building to both highlight specific areas as well as provide way-finding.

Project Data

240,000 sf
LEED Silver


Structural Engineer: Integrus Architecture, P.S.
Mechanical/Electrical: MW Consulting Engineers
Civil Engineer: Century West Engineering
General Contractor: Hoffman Construction Company
Landscape Architect: Sherry Pratt Van Voorhis
Photographer: Tim Griffith

“The design challenge for the renewal of the CUB—as expressed by the students who funded the project . . . was to respect the past but provide an inspired and contemporary renewal—neither commercial, nor ‘trendy.’ This sense of stewardship and respect pervades the building’s exterior and the substantial site improvements.”
— Kirk R. Pawlowski, AIA, Executive Director, Capitol Planning and Development, Washington State University

The Compton Union Building before renewal
Program & Highlights

Student organization & government spaces
Conference floor with ballrooms
THX, 500-seat auditorium/cinema
Flexible performance space
Barnes & Noble bookstore