WSU Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center
Runner Up for 2017 DJC Building of the Year!

(Article from Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce –

The Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center at Washington State University got 15 percent of the total votes. It sits prominently at the main entry to the school’s Pullman campus.

The $12 million, 16,000-square-foot design-build project was designed to celebrate diversity, with four cultural knowledge rooms that provide educational forums for exploration of both individuality and interconnectedness of cultures. It has an art gallery, a living room gathering space, demonstration kitchen and a meditation area.

Indoor-outdoor celebration spaces are joined by patterned paving. Transparent operable walls are covered by a wavy roof, evocative of the Palouse and paying homage to the region’s heritage.

The project is expected to achieve LEED silver certification.

“The design-build Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center was one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences I’ve had in construction,” said Absher project executive Rich Wells. “Absher, GGLO and PCS truly worked seamlessly to create this one-of-a-kind structure that is the physical expression of WSU’s celebration of diversity.”

Here’s what the voters said:

  • “Beautiful project, incredible detail and attention to the local surrounding, cultural influences and users of the space. An icon that will bring students and beyond together.”
  • “Absolutely gorgeous! So unique, complex, lots of light; just an overall beautiful structure.”
  • “Interesting engineering and construction challenges. Cheers to the design and construction team for making it happen.”


Project team
Owner: Washington State University
Architect, interior design and landscape design: GGLO
Design-builder: Absher Construction Co.
Structural engineer: PCS Structural Solutions
Civil engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers
Mechanical and electrical engineer: MW Consulting Engineers
Mechanical contractor: Apollo Mechanical
Electrical contractor: M&M Harrison Electric
Roofing: Cobra Roofing
Roof superstructure: Cascade Joinery
Cultural programming lead: Donald I. King
Cultural design lead: David M. Harmon
Artists: Nakia Williamson-Cloud, Barbara Earl Thomas, Alfredo Arreguin, Andres Barrioquinto, Caldwell Sculpture Studio, Kendall Design Studio

GGLO team
Mark Sindell, principal-in-charge, design
Donald Caffrey, project manager
Tiina Ritval, project architect
Sean Cahalin, architectural designer
George Valdez, interior designer
David Marshall, landscape architect
Kiwon Suh, landscape designer
Justin Schwartzhoff, sustainability advisor

PCS team
Brian Phair, principal-in-charge
Luke Heath, project manager
McKell Bowen, design engineer
Absher team
Dan Absher, principal-in-charge
Rich Wells, project executive
Aaron Binger, project manager
Steve Sanislo, superintendent
Sebatian Kalilikane, project engineer
Ryan Sours, lead estimator

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