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Seattle University

Answer Me This

What is the purpose of the trellis-like structure on the second floor of the Student Center?

March 6, 2014

"Its own little room"

Q: What is the purpose of the trellis-like structure on the second floor of the Student Center outside of Cherry Street Market? 

A: First of all, a big thank you to Elia Grenier, senior administrative assistant in the Office of University Planning for the question. For the answer, we turned to Sari Graven, director of design and planning in Facilities Services. Graven writes: 

"One of the issues that consistently comes up about the student center is its non-human scale. The rooms are large, hard surfaced boxes that don't feel very inviting. It does not feel comfortable, it is not very hospitable and feels cold. There are many ways to increase the perceived comfort of a space, mostly related to renovations of ceilings, lighting, and (these) can be costly. 

"The 'trellis' presents a way to bring the scale of this enormous barn-like space into a more human scale. The canopy in conjunction with the stool-height table becomes its own little room, providing a sense of protection, a cloister if you will from the larger space. 

"We placed this unit in the Student Center as an experiment to observe if people using the second floor would gravitate to this type of space or would they prefer to be out in the open at standard tables and chairs. I make a point of observing how the space is used whenever I am in the Student Center. I have noticed it is always occupied during the lunch service. Not a scientific study, but interesting." 

Graven is interested in feedback from students, faculty and staff who use the space. You can contact her at