GIX is an international partnership between the University of Washington and Tsinghua University, with founding support from Microsoft, that establishes a new model for higher education dedicated to developing leaders in innovation. Bora crafted an academic environment uniquely tailored to the new master’s degree in technology innovation, equipping students to combine design thinking, user experience strategies, and entrepreneurial training for truly global impact.
The original program called for two buildings to accommodate academic growth over ten years. Through creative space programming and scheduling analysis, we found efficiencies that allow the first two academic programs to fit into one structure, significantly extending the impact of Microsoft’s philanthropic gift.
Bora designed each of the three floors to emphasize a specific pedagogic approach, based on the way students move through the program. Our team also reinforced the free exchange of ideas and cross-disciplinary thinking essential to GIX by eliminating physical boundaries such as walls and doors. Continuous unfolding space, united by an open atrium stair, supports the collaborative mission of the program.
Incoming classes will begin on the third floor, where our design supports preparation, incubation, and team collaboration. To emphasize learning through practice, we dedicated the second floor to makerspace, rapid prototyping, and refinement of ideas. At ground level, large presentation areas, retail space, and an interactive “network wall” allow students to broadcast their work, within and beyond the GIX community.
GIX is a new center for the vibrant Puget Sound innovation ecosystem that seeks to drive unprecedented collaborations between academia and industry. Our design serves that vision by delivering a flexible space that can evolve and adapt to meet the needs of each successive cohort, freeing students to focus on solving the pressing challenges of our planet.
University of Washington + Tsinghua University
The Shalleck Collaborative