SAMi Environmental Learning Center


Nestled among towering firs and winding trails at Point Defiance Park, the Science and Math Institute (SAMi) Environmental Learning Center meshes with the surrounding forest and zoo to create a dynamic, “wild” classroom. This two-story, 30,000 square-foot facility houses programming for Tacoma Public School's SAMi classes and the Point Defiance Zoo. Custom clerestory and king-post trusses span a high roof that fills the interior with natural light. An exterior second-floor patio on the north side of the building connects SAMi to the park’s trail network via a pedestrian bridge walkway, providing students with a gateway to the natural world. This project received a Citation Award in 2017 from AIA Southwest Washington.

Photo credit: Janette Ryan