Gateway to the Gates Foundation: Visitor Center by Olson Kundig

A quotation in laminated plywood, mounted on acrylic, anchors the entry of Olson Kundig Architects’s visitor’s center for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle. Photography by Lara Swimmer.

A gallery’s custom light boxes, framed in steel, illustrate individual stories. Photography by Benjamin Benschneider/Otto/Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Flooring of reclaimed ash distinguishes the main corridor from galleries alongside. Photography by Benjamin Benschneider/Otto/Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Steel letters, casting shadows that spell out a mission state-ment, extend from a frame attached to the roof. Photography by Chris Burnside/Olson Kundig Architects.

In galleries, floor slabs in stained concrete can be removed for access to mechanicals. Photography by Kevin Scott/Olson Kundig Architects.

Video content produced by the foundation is shown continuously in the theater. Photography by Lara Swimmer.

The portrait gallery features more than 700 images printed on plywood with low-VOC ink. Photography by Kevin Scott/Olson Kundig Architects.

A 17-foot-tall steel armature displays visitors’ notes. Photography by Kevin Scott/Olson Kundig Architects.

The main corridor doubles as a gallery devoted to water scarcity. Photography by Benjamin Benschneider/Otto/
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The laminated plywood letters’ eight layers. Photography by  Possible.

A prompt from “Think of an Idea. Photography by Possible.

Steel letters on the concrete-block facade. Photography by Possible.

“Charting Changes,” in which wooden rollers activate drop-down acrylic panels with exhibit information. Photography by Kevin Scott/Olson Kundig Architects.

A prompt from “Think of an Idea.”

The theater. Photography by Benjamin Benschneider/Otto/Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Asking visitors what they would do if they had their own foundation. Photography by Kevin Scott/Olson Kundig Architects.

Levers demonstrating multiple approaches to problem-solving.

A prostitute in India.

A footprint alluding to the distance that some people must walk to obtain drinking water.

In Ghana, a family transporting water 16 miles back home. Grants displayed on a conveyor belt. Photography by Kevin Scott/Olson Kundig Architects.

Grants displayed on a conveyor belt. Photography by Kevin Scott/Olson Kundig Architects.

The globe that, when spun, activates a digital map showing locations where the foundation works. Photography by  Possible.

A model of the visitor’s center, built by NBBJ. Photography by Olson Kundig Architects.

Footprints along the corridor’s 140-foot length. Photography by Benjamin Benschneider/Otto/Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

An Indian farm laborer.

Health and sanitation issues are highlighted in the women’s restroom. Photography by Kevin Scott/Olson Kundig Architects.

A student who designed a shelter for homeless people photographs the model to post on monitors in the gallery. Photography by Lara Swimmer.

The theater’s custom benches are recycled ash. Photography by Lara Swimmer.

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