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CAE: Burke Museum - An Inside Look

Join architects from Olson Kundig and distinguished guests from the Burke Museum on an inside look at the inspiration and aspirations behind the new Burke Museum.

Every part of the Burke is exposed and part of the visitor experience. The design breaks down traditional museum barriers between public and “back-of-house” spaces, integrating collections and research labs with traditional galleries. Dual entrances help link the museum to its context, connecting to both the University of Washington campus and the surrounding community. At its core, the mission of the Burke is to help everyone – curators, visitors, educators and students – make a connection with our natural world in all its complexities.

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This in-person event takes place in a fully-accessible location with accessible restrooms, and is subject to COVID-19 protocols, as determined by AIA Seattle and the Burke Museum. All attendees will adhere to Museum and state guidelines at the time of the event, including but not limited to, masking, social distancing, and a COVID-19 self-assessment sent in advance of the program. It is presented by AIA Seattle’s Committee on Architecture for Education.

Please note in your registration if you would like to be contacted regarding specific accommodations to fully participate in this program. Contact Member Engagement Manager, Connor Descheemaker, with any questions or concerns.


Edward Lalonde, Prinicpal, Olson Kundig
Since joining Olson Kundig in 2008, principal Edward Lalonde has become known for his rare combination of playful creativity and rigorous pragmatism. Collaborating closely with Tom Kundig, Edward’s interest is in large-scale and complex projects that place emphasis on relationships between architectural spaces and their contexts, both rural and urban. Prior to joining Olson Kundig, Edward was a project architect and associate at Steven Holl Architects where he worked on several large cultural and institutional projects including Beirut Marina – Zautubay Bay, the Linked Hybrid in Beijing, the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, and the Department of Philosophy at NYU. Edward was a Project Architect on the new Burke Museum for Natural History and Culture.

Julie K. Stein, Executive Director, Burke Museum
Dr. Julie K. Stein was appointed Executive Director of the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in 2005 and led the vision of the New Burke. Previously she served as the Museum’s Curator of Archaeology. She also maintains a professor position in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Washington, and was Divisional Dean of Research, Computing, and Facilities for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Stein received her M.A and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Minnesota and her B.A degree from Western Michigan University. Her research interests are in geoarchaeology, especially studies involving Northwest Coast shell middens. She has excavated archaeological sites on Washington’s San Juan Islands since 1983, and continues to collaborate on research projects involving geoarchaeology.

Stephen Yamada-Heidner AIA, LEED AP, Principal, Olson Kundig
Principal Stephen Yamada-Heidner joined Olson Kundig in 1989. During his tenure at the firm, Stephen has developed an affinity for the rigor of institutional projects, drawing energy from the logistic challenges and collaborations inherent in them. He has worked on a diverse range of project types throughout his career, from cultural and museum projects to commercial projects and exhibits, as well as libraries and community places of worship. Stephen is known as a practiced and intuitive leader who helps gain consensus among stakeholders to bring projects to an on-time completion. For this, he credits his background in law – he holds a Juris Doctor degree and received intensive legal education and training before turning to a career in architecture. Stephen worked as Principal and Project Manager on the new Burke Museum for Natural History and Culture.

Justin Helmbrecht, Associate, LEED AP, Olson Kundig
Associate Justin Helmbrecht has worked on a variety of project types and scales, including residential, cultural and mixed-use since joining Olson Kundig in 2013. With more than 15 years of experience, Justin is adept at aligning client goals with design vision to solve the unique puzzle of each assignment. Always, he looks to foster integrated, highly collaborative project teams where architecture, exhibits and landscape work in tandem. Outside of his project work, Justin serves on Olson Kundig’s Quality Control (QC) Taskforce. Justin is passionate about mentorship and career development, active both within the firm and with several universities. Justin was a Project Architect on the new Burke Museum for Natural History and Culture.

Kate Fernandez, Director of Interpretation & Visitor Experience, Burke Museum
Kate Fernandez is the Director of Interpretation & Visitor Experience at the Burke where she oversees the strategy and implementation of exhibits, programs, and the visitor experience teams to bring engaging, visitor-centered experiences to guests.

Melissa Kennedy, Manager of Exhibit Experiences, Burke Museum 
Melissa Kennedy is the Manager of Exhibit Experiences at the Burke Museum where she leads the development and design of spaces and experiences that bring nature, culture and people together. She holds an MFA in Museum Exhibit Planning + Design, and has worked in art and cultural museums in the Pacific Northwest and Mid-Atlantic regions.

Learning Objectives

  • Participants will learn site strategies to better connect University campuses to adjacent neighborhoods
  • Traditionally, museums are segregated into exhibit and back-of-house spaces. Participants will learn to visually and physically connect spaces to enhance the museum experience
  • Participants will learn design methods to create facades that reflect nature and Indigenous culture.
  • Participants will learn how sensitive artifacts can safely be housed in a museum with natural daylight and ventilation.


July 23, 2021
3:15 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Price
Class Credit
1 LU


AIA Seattle
(206) 448-4938


Burke Museum
4300 15th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98105 United States
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