Gonzaga University, John J. Hemmingston Center

Spokane, WA
Reflection and Respite for Busy Students

This busy student union challenged Knot’s designers to highlight the building’s mission of creativity, spirituality and education while creating a peaceful atmosphere to unify many different program elements.


A place for reflection, the John J. Hemmingston Center challenged Knot’s wayfinding and placemaking designers to help create an atmosphere of peacefulness. Located on the campus of a premier Jesuit University, the Hemmingston Center invites students, faculty and staff to interact in a wide range of settings. Knot’s wayfinding and placemaking design is crucial to the success of the building’s program, as it helps students navigate through settings to find food and coffee, learn about travel opportunities, become more connected with Gonzaga students, and reflect on their faith. Wall graphics, such as a large-scale photo taken by a Gonzaga staff member in Italy, were incorporated in lounge areas as a way to remind students of the world that awaits them.


The building also houses the Center for Community Engagement, the Zakheim Center for Global Engagement, the Center for Student Involvement, and an extremely important donor wall. The key to Knot’s design was responding to the specific needs of each area of the John J. Hemmingston Center—using contextual placemaking graphics to highlight the building’s mission of creativity, spirituality and education. Knot pulled in color cues from the building’s exterior, such as the color bronze, to tie the interior with the exterior. The result is a dynamic student union that conveys the crucial messages of Gonzaga University through artful signage, while also giving students a respite from the busy academic life.

165,000 sq ft
Gonzaga University
Opsis Architecture