Seattle, WA

PH: 206.675.9151

1050 N 38th St

Seattle, WA 98103

Walla Walla, WA

PH: 206.224.3344

Burlington, VT

PH: 802.391.4523


W. W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory


Metro Parks Tacoma


Tacoma, Washingtion


Historic Preservation


Citation Award, AIA Washington Council Civic Design Awards, 2022


Continuing a long tradition of learning and discovery.

The W. W. Seymour Conservatory renovation and expansion in Tacoma will more than triple the size of this landmark botanical institution. The conservatory has occupied a prominent site within Wright Park since 1908, with the park and the building both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This rehabilitation is a multi-phase project to expand access, reduce energy use, improve life-safety, and accommodate Metro Parks Tacoma’s growing botanical collection while creating a recreational destination on the eastern edge of Wright Park, a 26-acre urban refuge located between Tacoma’s downtown and Hilltop neighborhood.

The project’s initial phase provided accessible public restrooms and storage on the building’s main floor. A small addition west of the north wing encloses new, accessible restrooms and storage and is clad with a steel grid to train vines over. Plants are included as part of the building’s façade and serve as an additional botanical exhibit. The opaque storage block is attached to the building at the original eave with a glass vestibule using 21st century technology: large low-sloped insulated glass panels fasten to a custom welded steel structure using toggle-clips and structural sealant. The vestibule maintains views to the Rotunda and retains the mature trees adjacent. The addition defers to the scale, texture, and dimension of the original wing and acts as a lens to view the historic Rotunda.

The renovation improved the building’s lateral structure, MEP systems, educational spaces, energy performance, and universal access.
The renovation of W. W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory has restored its status as a central, public destination at the heart of Tacoma’s Wright Park.

Design Process

Construction Process

Finished Spaces

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