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Wednesday, May 31 • 8:30am - 8:50am
(Sustainability) With Room to Grow: Design and Construction of a new Conservation Facility at the University of Washington Libraries.

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The University of Washington Libraries in Seattle, WA completed construction of a new conservation facility in February 2016. This paper will cover the many challenges encountered as well as the many innovative and practical solutions developed by Libraries staff in collaboration with UW Capital Projects staff, architects and contractors. The new 4,000 sq. ft. facility was built, in part, to support a new endowed conservator position funded in part by an Andrew W. Mellon award. The current lab lacked both the space and the required equipment to support the new position. Previously, three staff members and as many as three students worked together in a 2,000 sq. ft. basement with limited support for complex treatment to meet the Libraries' conservation needs. The new lab would need to incorporate both the current staff, the new conservator, and allow for future capacity and growth. With the growing diversity of collection materials, staff also designed the space to support more complex photograph and paper conservation in the future. The new design therefore had to comfortably house not only existing equipment and furniture, but also new aqueous and chemical treatment apparatus, documentation and examination equipment, and increased storage, workspace and office needs. Location was a primary challenge early in design as HVAC concerns and fume hood installation required that the facility be relocated from its existing basement location. Additionally, designing for current need as well as future capacity while only doubling available square footage required significant experimentation with workflow, storage design, and efficient space use. There were also inherent challenges in communicating the unique needs of a hybrid conservation facility and its staff to architects, facilities staff, laboratory consultants and other stakeholders and collaborators throughout the project. The results of this three-year project will be presented along with discussion of the many communication solutions staff created to address design and fundraising needs. Designing the space for future flexibility and practical material storage, innovative fume-hood design, original designs for laboratory furniture, and sustainable management practices will all be covered. Now fully operational, post-construction project insights and performance will also be shared.

avatar for Justin P. Johnson

Justin P. Johnson

Conservator, University of Washington Libraries
Justin Johnson, Senior Conservator at University of Washington Libraries, has been working in conservation professionally for 10 years. He earned an M.A. in Conservation Science from the University of Sussex and West Dean College in Chichester, United Kingdom, and a B.A. from the... Read More →

Wednesday May 31, 2017 8:30am - 8:50am CDT
Plaza Ballroom Lobby Level, East Tower