Small but Mighty: Making a Big Impact with Tiny Houses

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As Architects and designers in Seattle, we see how a demand for housing in our city is affecting cost and availability, and contributing to an increase in homelessness. According to the 2016 “One Night Count” there were 10,047 people homeless in King County on January 29th, 2016, and 4,505 without shelter (statistics that are widely considered undercounts). Weber Thompson cares deeply about community, and as people who design shelter for a living, we asked ourselves, “What more can we do to help with this issue?” When we learned about the Low Income Housing Institute’s (LIHI) Tiny House work, we were inspired by their program and jumped at the chance to become more involved.

LIHI is dedicated to serving a wide variety of populations through a number of programs, including the operation of four (and growing) homeless encampments across the city for sheltering homeless families and individuals. LIHI’s encampments offer an improvement over the conditions of non-regulated encampments by providing safe and secure temporary housing, with access to services that can help homeless residents work to secure more permanent housing. LIHI’s village encampments are democratic and self-managed, have strict codes of conduct, include resident background checks, and work with communities to conscientiously integrate encampments into neighborhoods across the city. LIHI’s villages provide space for tent shelters and also Tiny Houses.

Tiny Houses are small, simple, sturdy sleeping structures. The structures have an open floor plan of about 8’x12’, a window, a lockable door, and may provide shelter for individuals, couples and families of up to four. The structures do not typically include power or water; these services are provided on site as a shared resource. Likewise, a common kitchen is used by residents for meals, as the tiny houses have no cooking facilities. LIHI already offers Tiny House assembly instructions (available to any community group interested in providing a unit) and Weber Thompson saw an opportunity to utilize our design skill sets to build upon LIHI’s Tiny House prototype. Continue reading



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Meet the Staff: Rachael Meyer

Meet the Staff: Rachael Meyer

Rachael Meyer is Weber Thompson’s new Landscape Architecture Principal. She joined the firm with 13 years of experience creating lush landscapes for residential projects, parks, and public open spaces. Get to know more about Rachael in the Q & A below.

What is your Name & Title/Role 

Rachael Hope Watland Meyer, Weber Thompson’s new Principal of Landscape Architecture

You just joined Weber Thompson as our new Landscape Architecture Principal. What brought you here? 

Weber Thompson is such a great group of collaborative people and awesome projects! As the Landscape Architect on most of the projects in the office I get to work with pretty much everyone and every project. It is such a great opportunity for me!

What about this new role excites you the most? 

I’m excited by the office’s focus on sustainability and pushing each project to do more to improve our environment. It needs to be a driver in everything we do, especially with our urban landscapes.

What has been your favorite project? 

The Bullitt Center and McGilvra Place Park, the first commercial living building and first living park, respectively, have been most influential on how I approach landscape design and team collaboration. These projects were cutting edge in their ultimate design, but also in the process to get there.

Why Landscape Architecture?  Continue reading



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Seeking two interior designers

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Work hard, play hard, that’s our motto. But when the work outweighs the play, we know we need to grow our team, which is why we’re seeking two talented, hard-working interior designers with a great sense of humor. We work in a light filled, passively cooled office building in the middle of the highly energized South Lake Union neighborhood in Seattle. If you or someone you know meets the criteria below, please head to our careers page to learn more and apply.

Interior Designer

We are looking for someone to bring their excellent design eye, stellar rendering skills and technical knowledge and experience to support our interior designs. You are a self-starter with at least 4 years of experience in residential multi-family projects – either high-rise or mid-rise – and commercial office projects who can work well in a highly collaborative environment.

What we’re looking for:

  • Experience and expertise in AutoCAD 2009, Revit, Sketchup and Adobe Creative Cloud.
  • Excellent team and interdisciplinary communication, both written and verbal.
  • Strong organizational skills.
  • The ability to manage both schedules and budgets.
  • Resilience, drive, and a sense of humor.

A degree in Interior Design or Architecture from an accredited program is required; LEED AP Accreditation is preferred. Continue reading



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WT Food Frenzy: A Fantastic Finale

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Weber Thompson’s participation in the 2016 Food Frenzy competition came to end last Friday in a sweet and delectable fashion. On Monday, July 18th, the office held a bake sale in the lobby and last Friday, July 22nd, the fun concluded with an ice cream social in the office. The Weber Thompson team participated by bringing in homemade baked goods, desserts from local businesses and by purchasing “build your own” ice cream sundaes with unlimited toppings.

Food Frenzy Ice Cream Social

In addition to the bake sale and ice cream social, this year’s Food Frenzy events included an afternoon volunteering with Food Lifeline, and a carnival themed office happy hour. The Food Frenzy competition engages employees of local companies to raise funds, volunteer and collect food donations. With the participation of Weber Thompson employees and online donors through our Facebook page, we were able to raise over $2,000. In total, the competition generated over $700,000 for Food Lifeline. Each dollar donated to Food Lifeline provides 5 healthy meals, which means Food Frenzy participants efforts translate to over 3.5 million healthy meals for people in need in our region!

The events helped take a step in the right direction toward helping to end hunger in our community, but the efforts don’t have to end now. You can visit the Food Lifeline website to donate, volunteer and learn other ways that you can help end hunger.



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WT in search of talented Landscape Architect

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Weber Thompson, an award winning architecture, interior design, landscape architecture and community/urban design firm has an opening on our landscape architecture team. Our projects are complex and you will work hard – but you will be alongside a great group of people who prioritize collaboration and humor in their day-to-day work. We work in a light filled, passively cooled office building in the middle of the highly energized South Lake Union neighborhood in Seattle.

Our office is a friendly and low-key, yet deadline-driven, environment with minimal egos, and we’re looking for a new Landscape Architect / Designer to join our team.

If you have a Bachelor or Master degree in Landscape Architecture and 5+ years of experience, preferably in a landscape/architecture office setting working on urban multifamily and commercial development projects, we want to meet you! You must have broad technical knowledge of design development, construction documentation, specifications and field experience as well as a comprehensive understanding of plant materials, horticultural best practices and efficient planting plan production. Excellent computer graphics and rendering skills including SketchUp and Adobe Creative Suite, as well as proficiency in AutoCAD are necessary.

If you believe you or someone you know might qualify for this position, head over to our careers page to learn more.

 



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Healthy Materials for a Better World

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It’s amazing what humans can achieve when we are faced with a dilemma. Our current environmental predicament has sparked a surge of creativity from designers leading the way to a brighter, more sustainable tomorrow. I’ve been tremendously inspired by the groundbreaking standards put forth by the Living Future Institute, and was excited to attend the Living Product Healthy Materials Summit at the 2016 ILFI unConference.

When I attended the Living Future Conference a few years back, there was a lot of discussion about how difficult it would be to actually meet the Living Building Challenge (LBC). Some felt that it was something they may never be able to achieve. Incredibly, what seemed so difficult to achieve a few years ago has become a new standard in sustainability.

A wide variety of industry professionals presented on how they are implementing the LBC, and using the Declare label to show transparency. With manufacturers and specifiers working together, real change is happening. A presentation on the Healthy Materials Collaborative shed light on the local group of architects and designers working to advocate for healthy building products.

Weber Thompson has been part of the Healthy Materials Collaborative (HMC) since its recent founding. Through the HMC, Weber Thompson has been able to further our sustainability goals and break down barriers to healthy, sustainable buildings. Our tremendous experience with LEED, Built Green, as well as current LBC and Passive House projects is helpful to other HMC members trying to achieve these rigorous building standards.

This year, we are combing through our entire materials library, to make it easier for our designers and architects to specify healthy materials. We are asking manufacturers to show transparency with their products so that we can make informed design decisions. We are also asking manufacturers to label their products with sustainability information so we can easily see which products meet green building standards. Continue reading



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WT Food Frenzy: Office Happy Hour

On July 8th, Weber Thompson began participating in Food Frenzy, a friendly competition to raise money for Food Lifeline. The competition engages employees of local businesses to volunteer, raise funds or collect food to do their part in helping to end hunger. Food Frenzy runs through next Friday, July 22nd, and Weber Thompson has committed to raising at least $1,000 in support of the effort.

On Thursday, July 14th, Weber Thompson turned the outdoor courtyard into a carnival-themed happy hour. Employees were encouraged to help raise money by buying raffle tickets, cocktails, snacks and by playing carnival-themed games.

The office annex was host to the happy hour bar and raffle ticket table. The bar featured a selection of snacks, delicious cocktails and boozy SnoCups that brightened everyone’s Thursday afternoon. The mango-coconut rum SnoCup was an overwhelming crowd favorite. There was also a wide variety of raffle prizes to choose from, including gift cards donated by local businesses, bottles of wine, employee parking spots and a one-hour personal photo session, to name a few. Continue reading



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WT Wheelies Raise $900 for Bikeworks

Weber Thompson has always been interested in helping the environment. For the 4th year in a row, we have taken on the bike month challenge in an effort to reduce the use of cars and encourage healthy living. In previous years we’ve competed against each other in teams. The competitive nature drove us to team costumes and dance exhibitions so we could taunt our co-workers and spur ourselves on to ride more miles than the others.

This year we pulled together as a firm and formed a single team: The WT Wheelies. Our team consisted of 25 participants who rode from as close as 1 mile away to as far as 8 miles away with our farthest teammate riding 378 miles in the month. The team rode over 2600 miles, avoided 2350 pounds of CO2 and burned 131,000 calories! Along the way, we had team outings for happy hours and lunch tours, in which we toured various WT projects, both finished and under construction.

Why, if not to compete with each other, would we work so hard? For the KIDS! Continue reading



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Meet the Staff: Bernadette Rubio

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Bernadette Rubio, NCIDQ, LEED AP recently took the helm as Weber Thompson’s Interior Design Principal. Learn more about her background and inspirations in this Q & A.

What is your Name & Title/Role? Bernadette Rubio, Interior Design Principal

You were just promoted! What about this new role excites you the most?

I’ve been with WT for almost four years and have been part of an incredible group of designers. Carrie Smith has been instrumental in making that happen and I learned a lot from working alongside her. What I’m really excited about is building upon that success, taking the WTid team to the next level and helping each of our team members flourish as designers.

What has been your favorite project?

My favorite project is a tossup between 4730 California Apartments in West Seattle and Pike Motorworks in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Both projects were urban infill projects developed by The Wolff Company. Each project design was inspired by the uniqueness of their respective neighborhoods.

These projects were successful because the entire design team, especially the client, stayed true to the concept and were committed to executing the design throughout the process. It’s a testament to a great client/designer/contractor team relationship. Continue reading



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Industrial Design student show a huge hit

Last week, several dozen third-year industrial design students from the University of Washington, Western Washington University, and the Art Institute of Seattle descended on our office space to transform our office lobby, conference rooms and common areas into a pop-up gallery. The occasion was the end-of-year showcase of Junior Students’ industrial designs, and the second year in a row they used our office for this purpose.

As a firm offering integrated services – that is, landscape, interior design and architecture – we believe that spending time with other designers and artists is a form of creative cross-pollination. It pushes the boundaries of design and keeps our wheels turning. This event offered us the opportunity to observe young minds at work. We hope the students gained something by showing their work in the office of a firm offering creative services.

Student work ran the gamut – from doormats made from cut-up garden hoses to drones designed to deliver first aid supplies to remote villages in need of humanitarian aid. The exhibit was hosted by the Northwest Chapter of IDSA – the Industrial Design Society of America – but was coordinated almost entirely by the students themselves. The show was held at our offices because it provided a neutral location where students from all schools could display their work and celebrate their accomplishments with friends and family. It also offered them a chance to think creatively about space planning and exhibit design, and the challenges of setting up a gallery in a working office space. Continue reading



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