Washington State University

The Spark Academic Innovation Hub


Washington State University (WSU) is a public research university based in Pullman, Washington. Founded in 1890, this land-grant university has 30,000 students across its four campuses and enjoys a reputation as a leader in education and research focused on improving the economy.

Leveraging our knowledge of technology and the latest in educational trends, Vantage worked closely with WSU’s administration, faculty and students along with ZGF as the lead designer to define the institution’s learning needs, present the latest in educational technologies and approaches, and provide design options for visionary teaching, innovative learning and collaboration spaces.

The resulting “classroom for the future” is The Spark Academic Innovation Hub – a revolutionary teaching and learning space designed to enhance active learning across multiple disciplines and to serve as a catalyst for a campus-wide initiative for promoting innovation in learning.

The showcase of the 4-story building is the active learning hall which is a circle-in-the-round accommodating 360-degrees of projected content to encourage collaboration and exploration by enabling a pedagogy based on faculty as facilitators of learning rather than imparters of knowledge. Other spaces in the building include:

  • Active learning classroom
  • Maker space and collaboration studio
  • Student skills studio
  • Faculty studio and training room
  • Open informal learning and contemplation lounges
  • Group study rooms
  • Central commons and event space

The Spark is designed with a modular interior for maximum flexibility to accommodate changing needs now and in the future.


  • Worked closely with WSU administration, faculty and students to define learning needs and develop robust designs to allow flexibility in teaching modalities
  • Implemented classroom technologies to enhance learning
  • Designed building-wide connectivity enabling technology to serve as a prominent teaching and collaboration tool


  • Facilitated Workshops and Visioning Sessions
  • Technology Program Development
  • Financial Modeling and Assessment
  • System Design and Documentation
  • RFP Development
  • Vendor Selection
  • Implementation Oversight
  • Design Build Management
  • Architectural / Engineering Design Support


  • Audiovisual Systems
  • Videoconference and Distance Learning Systems
  • Educational Technologies

Read “Designing a Technology-Enabled Learning Environment for Higher Education” to see how Vantage worked with Washington State University to develop The Spark Academic Innovation Hub.

  • Client: Washington State University
  • Project: The Spark Academic Innovation Hub
  • Location: Pullman, WA
  • Project Type: Education
  • Facility: Active Learning Hall
  • Project Size: 160,000 sq ft
  • Architect: ZGF
  • Completion Date: 2017