Change Elevators

Merit Award

This installation is a unique collaboration between art and business—two distinctly contrasting disciplines at the University of Washington. The School of Art, Division of Design was commissioned to develop a permanent installation for Paccar Hall, their new campus neighbor and the home of the UW Foster School of Business.

The installation reflects on the dynamic relationship between business and change. The word “change” appears on the floor of each elevator, along with 18 synonyms (adapt, innovate, transform, etc.). The synonyms are each highlighted with actual loose change, international coins that hint at the diversity of the UW Foster Business School as well as the global nature of business. The word “change” inside the elevator and the related words outside the elevators are rendered in Trade Gothic stainless steel letters embedded in the granite flooring.

As the elevator moves from floor to floor, the interior word “change” is modified by another word just outside the elevator, to both the front and back:

Floor 5: I Change/You Change
Floor 4: Lead Change/Manage Change
Floor 3: Expect Change/Embrace Change
Floor 2: Local Change/Global Change
Floor 1: Change Ideas/Change Lives
Floor 0: Change?/Change!

Jury Comments: 

“The jury was inspired by the creation of multiple layers of conceptual meaning centered around the varied uses of the word ‘change.’ This project is a creative call to action that is both unexpected and powerful in its given context. Great use of form, typography, and meaning.”

“The essence of business is depicted through words and architectural integration combining the perfect graphic solution with the element of delight. The use of typography is bold, simple, and demands thought.”

“The messages conveyed in this project are innovative and thought-provoking. The viewer is subconsciously led to think about the messages underfoot. This is a clever way to keep employees focused on the company’s mission statement. Using the elevator floor as the graphic platform that emulates the company’s values is brilliant, in that everyone rides the elevator and will see the message multiple times each day.” 

Design Firm: 

University of Washington School of Art, Division of Design


University of Washington, Foster School of Business

Location City: 

PACCAR Hall, University of Washington, Seattle

Project Area: 


Open Date: 


Project Budget: 


Photo Credits: 

Michael Burns, Matt Hagan

Design Team: 

Karen Cheng, Kristine Matthews (designers)


Sellen Construction (contractor)


Synergism Stone (letter and stone tile installation), Definitive Solutions and Technologies (metal letter fabrication and stonecutting)

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