• Photo courtesy of Lara Swimmer.

Seattle Academy of Arts & Sciences, Cardinal Union Building

Seattle, WA

Project Categories

K-12 education

Business Type

K-12 academic building


65,500 square feet

The Cardinal Union Building at SAAS is a new middle school building located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. Building Analysis Modeling through the year 2050 measured how the school could adapt to a warming climate in Seattle and achieve thermal comfort through passive design. The building features Post Occupancy Data Devices (PODDs), sensors inside playful, transparent boxes that track, store, and upload environmental conditions such as measurements of air particles, temperature, and light levels. Students and staff must make manual adjustments, helping to extend these features into learning experiences.


LMN Architects


Seattle Academy of Arts & Sciences


Progress Report

  • Pursuing an Energy Use Index (EUI) of 25 or lower
  • 20 - 35% energy savings over code
  • 50% water savings over code
  • Designed to LEED Gold equivalent

Special features

  • The envelope is so well integrated into the air flow of the cooling system that the façade plays a vital role in keeping the building at a comfortable occupant temperature.

  • Classrooms are equipped with operable windows for passive cooling and natural ventilation.

  • Rainwater reclamation provides water for flushing toilets.

  • Low flow plumbing fixtures reduce water usage.

  • Adjustable lighting control system reduces energy use.

  • Window glazing performance and shading addresses external and internal needs.

Media Coverage

Seattle’s SAAS Middle School Connects Students and Their Surroundings