This building is designed after a Northwest Coast longhouse and is constructed from Olympic Peninsula cedar, douglas fir posts and beams, and metal. The interior has high vaulted, cedar covered ceilings and many built-in art pieces. It has the advantage of a full kitchen, (3) large classrooms with flexible wall systems allowing the users to change the size and configuration of the meeting rooms as desired. The large open spaces are often used by our local Native American programs. The 2009 renovation included an addition of administrative offices and updating of other academic spaces. There is an interior wood-burning fireplace along with an exterior covered patio with its own wood-burning fireplace.
Additional Information: The Longhouse is the first building of its kind on any US college or university campus. Traditional longhouses served as the community center for families and villages up and down the Pacific Northwest. In a traditional longhouse you would find the post and beam structure you see in this longhouse, but it would be one room, with a fire pit in the middle and bench seating around the sides. The floor would be dirt with wood shavings on top. The Evergreen longhouse design is based on a traditional longhouse with modern features. This longhouse sits on Coast Salish land and so its appearance follows that tradition.
On the exterior entrance, the first thing you see is the Thunderbird. It was carved by Greg Colfax who is Makah and Andy Wilbur who is Skokomish. Greg was a visiting faculty member at Evergreen at the time and students in the Native Studies program worked with him on the sculpture. The Thunderbird is seen as the giver of knowledge and so its presence on the Longhouse here is appropriate.
When people think of Pacific Northwest Coast Native culture, they often think of totem poles. Poles are traditional of northern cultures that you'd find in BC and Alaska. In the Southern region among Salish people, welcome figures are carved and placed outside of the Longhouse. These figures on either side of the door have their hands outstretched in a gesture of welcome. The male figure is holding a platter which indicates food. At Longhouses, food was ALWAYS present! Greg Colfax and Andy Wilbur carved the welcome figures as well.
Date of Construction: 1995
Renovation Date: 2009 (Addition of archive storage and administration offices)
Architect: Jones and Jones