2018 Winning Project – Stanford Hoover Office Building
and Conference Center

The Woodwork Institute has selected Northwestern Design’s work on the Stanford Hoover Office Building and Conference Center as the winner of the 2018 Ralph B. McClure Craftsmanship Award. The McClure Award honors a Woodwork Institute Affiliate for exception craftsmanship and installation of architectural millwork.

In selecting this project for the McClure Craftsmanship award, the judges offered the following comments:

“Work involved in the conference center is very detailed and performs two functions: aesthetics and acoustics.”

“I chose this project for the difficulty with the large overhead radius ceiling panel work that looks magnificent.”

Scroll below to see photos and learn more about this project.

Image of wood panelled floating stairs, the Woodwork Institute logo, and text: "Previous McClure Winners"

The Stanford Hoover Office Building and Conference Center is located in the heart of the Stanford University campus, adjacent to the Hoover Tower. The original building was demolished with the upgraded facility completed in the fall of 2017. The new 55,000-square-foot conference center is a famed instituted designed to host high-profile, world-renowned speakers and retreats as well as housing office space for management and operations.

The project interior spaces are an impressive display of fine wood craftsmanship with stunning quarter sliced walnut veneer wall paneling and walnut lumber trim. The featured spaces include a glass-walled arcade, Blount Hall (a 440-seat dining area and multipurpose room), the 400-seat Hauck Auditorium and a welcoming pavilion. Blount Hall is named in honor of Bill Blount, while the auditorium recognizes Everett “Sparky” Hauck and his wife, Jane. The Hoover Institution’s two-story building is named for its primary benefactors, David and Joan Traitel. All are longtime members of the Hoover Board of Overseers.

The areas inside the Hoover Institution demonstrate an engaging visualization of rich earth tones in both walnut veneer and lumber components. The design elements and rich color tones are well utilized within these large areas. Level 2 office spaces combine walnut solid wood jambs, casings and window sills. Break rooms incorporate functional plastic laminate casework with durable engineered solid surface stone countertops.

Northwestern Design offered constructability suggestions that were critical for overall wood veneer matching, which included strategic panel break points intentionally designed to maintain alignment with the surrounding window grid systems. Towering sequenced-wrapped columns and sloped-fascia panels span across the repeating arcade corridor and are the prominent design in the building. Blount Hall shares similar column wraps to the adjacent arcade, with columns extending to the ceiling, across the length of the room and down the opposing wall. This creates a structural sense with the continuous butt match consistency. Thick lumber vertical planks and base molding frame perforated acoustical wood panels. Hauck Auditorium incorporated similar vertical columns with horizontal wood veneer eyebrow beams concealing window shades to provide a connection from column to column.

Walnut lumber and veneer combination guardrail systems separate the upper seating from the main floor below with a curved bench and guardrail design. This space is a woodworker’s delight, teeming with walnut veneers and lumber elements that work well in the space.

The entrance into the pavilion is met with two massive solid lumber vertical grid screen walls. Beyond are four 3-foot-diameter wood veneer columns with strategic reveals for constructability, which gives the area a structural feel.

Careful selection for color and tone was time well spent on this project. Countless engineering labor hours proved worth the effort for the veneer panel layout. This enabled minimal shop trimming to maintain butt matching consistency. Northwestern Design’s shop performance showed exception attention to detail by carefully aligning the veneer seams panel to panel. This helped lead to a standout superior finished product.

The Stanford Hoover Office Building and Conference Center is not only a functional space for large gatherings and day-to-day business, but the facility is aesthetically please for those who have an appreciation for intriguing design and a love for rich wood tones.