The Center for Wooden Boats (CWB) recently completed the new Wagner Education Center, which previously operated for 40 years out of the CWB boathouse on the shores of South Lake Union. The 9,200-square-foot center, named for CWB founders Dick and Colleen Wagner, will house classrooms, a sail loft, event space, a gallery, and a boat shop for maintenance and new construction projects.
The center was designed by the renowned Seattle architecture firm Olson Kundig, taking inspiration from the energy wooden boats harness from the wind and sun. The movable exterior shading system minimizes solar hear gain in the summer and maximizes it in the winter. The building’s large doors, windows, and skylights will let in wind to cool the building in hot months. Reducing the Wagner Center’s energy bill even further are 135 photovoltaic panels mounted on the roof.
“The Center for Wooden Boats has played a critical role in educating the public not just about boats, but about the value of craft and the forces of nature that surround us,” said designer Tom Kundig. The CWB is inviting the public to join them in celebrating the completion of the new center with a weekend celebration March 23-24 that will include free boat rides in steamboats, schooners, ketches, yawls, and other historic boats. Visitors can also watch Saaduuts Robert Peele, canoe carver and member of the Haida tribe, carve a traditional canoe all weekend long. Kids, aged three to nine, can build toy boats and decorate paddles. The CWB collection of classic wooden yachts will be open and available for the public to tour.
“The Wagner Education Center is a stunning new building that connects the region’s maritime heritage with the fast-moving present,” said Brandt Faatz, executive director of the CWB. “We’re a hands-on maritime museum. We encourage people to come down and touch the artifacts, to learn about history, and to learn skills by becoming part of the place.”
The celebration is free and will take place at the Center for Wooden Boats on Saturday, March 23, and Sunday, March 24, from 1000 hours to 1700 hours. The ribbon cutting ceremony is at 1000 hours on Saturday. You can learn more at cwb.org.