The Catalyst Building by Michael Green Architecture

One of the most sustainable building in North America

Project Specs

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The Catalyst Building is expected to meet Net Zero and Zero Carbon standards, which would make it one of the most sustainable buildings in North America.

▼建筑外观,external view of the building ©Benjamin BenSchneider


Located in Spokane, Washington, the 165,000 sq.ft. Catalyst Building is the first completed building in a highly sustainable district called the HUB. This leading edge project is intended to set the standard for additional buildings that will be built in this district. The site is situated in an area of downtown which is currently underutilized and in need of revitalization. A new pedestrian bridge linked this area to the four universities on the north over the train track. The Catalyst Building sits adjacent to the bridge landing.

▼远景,项目位于步行桥边,distanced view, project located at the landing of the pedestrian bridge ©Benjamin BenSchneider


The new building acts as an incubation space to synergize industries. Program includes offices, classrooms, common study areas, an Innovation Lab located on the ground floor, and will house Eastern Washington University’s Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics programs.

▼建筑立面,building facade ©Benjamin BenSchneider

▼入口空间,entrance space ©Benjamin BenSchneider


One of our client’s sustainability goal was to design and construct a mass timber building that could exceed the performance of a comparable steel and concrete building, and showcase the benefits of CLT with regard to aesthetics, building efficiency, and environmental impact. We developed a series of solutions and systems that maximize the use of this renewable natural material and optimize construction methods.  

▼立面细部,closer view to the facade ©Benjamin BenSchneider


The Owner’s high sustainability mandates were realized through a collaborative design process led by MGA. Per the Life Cycle Analysis authored by the Carbon Leadership Forum at University of Washington: “the carbon storage of the timber nearly offsets the embodied carbon impact of the construction”. Other “passive-first” strategies including bio swales and water retention system for low water use, envelope design utilizing Passive House standards, and durable material application to achieve design life expectancy of 75 years.  The building blow door test result achieved 0.2 ACH 50 when compared to Passive House Standard of 0.6 ACH 50 means Catalyst is 3 times more air tight than the Standard requirement.

▼室外走廊,outdoor corridor ©Benjamin BenSchneider

▼大厅,lobby ©Benjamin BenSchneider

▼楼梯间,staircase ©Benjamin BenSchneider

▼灵活的空间使用,use the space in a flexible way ©Benjamin BenSchneider

▼上层工作休息区,working and rest area on the upper floor ©Benjamin BenSchneider


The floor plates are simple but long span to remain flexible for both offices and academic multi-functional uses. This was achieved by Katerra’s ribbed panel system where MGA led the effort in defining its requirement and characteristics and integrating the highly efficient MEP within the structure. In addition to the mass timber gravity system, we maximized other CLT applications including the building lateral system, exterior pre-fabricated panel to be re-used as exit stair treads.

▼大跨度空间满足不同的功能需求,long span space meeting the requirements of different functions ©Benjamin BenSchneider

▼由木材组成的空间,space composed of wood ©Benjamin BenSchneider

▼机电系统整合在结构之中,MEP system integrated with the structure ©Benjamin BenSchneider

▼露台,terrace ©Benjamin BenSchneider

▼夜景,night view ©Benjamin BenSchneider

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