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Intellectual House Opens at the University of Washington


Having officially opened on March 12, 2015, the University of Washington has added a brand new, modern, and truly unique event space to its campus. wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House represents a dream four decades in the making.

wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ, a term from the Coast Salish Lushootseed language (audio pronunciation here), is the third longhouse-style facility to be built on a Washington college campus. It will be an anchor for indigenous students, a hub for Native learning and a means of acknowledging the Duwamish people whose village and longhouses were once on the university grounds. 

The $6 million, 8,400-square-foot building northeast of the Quad is designed with the architectural elements of a traditional Northwest Coast longhouse, including cedar planks and posts.

It features a gathering space that can seat 500 people, a large kitchen suitable for teaching about Native foods and medicines, a smaller meeting room and an outdoor area with a fire pit where salmon can be cooked in the traditional way. Fundraising will start soon for a second building that will provide additional space for teaching and learning.

Leaders envision wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House being used for activities ranging from symposiums to community events. And they emphasize that the facility will be a welcoming place for everyone.

The facility is available for use outside of the University and, apart from being an event space, the wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House is a place where culture, history, and present times flow seamlessly together. 

More information on the building, its sugnificance to the community, and the history of the project can be found here -