The art of glass

A few weeks ago, Corban, Heidi and Chad with Emser Tile took our interior design studio out to Seattle Glassblowing Studio in Belltown. We had a ton of fun learning about glassblowing techniques – and that it’s pretty difficult! Thankfully the crew at the studio was eager to help us learn and in the end, we all came out with glass creations that are proudly displayed on our desks.

Thank you, Emser Tile, for the wonderful experience!

Here are a few of our favorite photos from the evening:

Glassblowing-2Glassblowing-6 Continue reading

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Meet the Staff: Amanda Keating

wt_headshots-8692Amanda Keating AIA, LEED AP BD+C, was recently made an equity principal at Weber Thompson. She oversees our Mid Rise studio and is passionate about sustainability and green design. Learn more about Amanda on our website.




What is your name & title/role?

Amanda Keating AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Principal, Mid Rise studio

Share a little about your background.

I grew up in Oak Park, Illinois – just outside of Chicago. I volunteered as a tour guide at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio during High School. My appreciation of the urban built environment is no doubt a result of having grown up in such a culturally and texturally rich place.

How long have you worked at Weber Thompson and why did you begin working here in the first place?

My 10 year anniversary was earlier this summer, 2015. I came to Weber Thompson from a much larger Architecture firm doing work around the country (and world); I wanted to work on projects locally and Weber Thompson was a perfect fit.

What has kept you at Weber Thompson?

Oh my goodness, so many things! The team, the personalities, the talent, the leadership opportunities, the dynamic work that we do and the people we work with. Also, the parties; we know how to throw a great party. Continue reading

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Four design lessons learned during Construction Administration

Radius lessons learned project tour.

One week ago, a group of a dozen or so WT employees took time out of their busy schedules to take a “lessons learned” tour of Radius, a nearly-completed mid-rise residential project in the South Lake Union Neighborhood that Weber Thompson designed. (Thank you, Compass, for letting us host this after-construction-hours event!) The goal was to learn from the successes (and challenges) of Radius, through a better understanding of the construction process and the impacts it can produce on design and vice versa. We came away from the tour with four key takeaways:

1. Massing is key; it cannot be changed down the line.

Walking up on the project, you couldn’t help but acknowledge the general massing of a seven story building stepping down the rather steeply sloping site. In addition to the required steps to maintain code-compliant building height, Continue reading

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WTID Inspirations: Cozy, Classic Comfort

Let’s get away!

To a dreamy, dreary morning on the coast, in a field, in a dream. Who said fall can’t romance us as much as summer? In a city where trees are becoming less abundant, fall is not as rich with oranges, deep reds, or hints of pine as the countryside. No, our fall is a little more….gray.

But even still, it inspires us. Check out our fall Pinterest board to get a little inspired by October in Seattle yourself.

To see how we incorporate our inspirations into our projects, view our online portfolio.

Cozy Classic Comfort

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Growth in Seattle: Is a downturn coming?


When you walk into a hotel conference lobby filled with 500 plus people at 8:00 in the morning, it’s hard not to get caught up in the buzz and excitement. Everyone is here for the same thing, to gain insight on “Seattle’s State of the Market”. Is Seattle overbuilding? How much room do we have to grow? Is there a downturn coming?

Here’s what I learned at the Bisnow Seattle State of the Market Event on September 30th:

Seattle is making its mark. Seattle is taking its place as a global city and is being recognized as a start-up economy. One major driver for growth is the hot topic of EB5. The PNW is a hot bed of EB5 money and Seattle is one of the leaders in EB5 funding.

Workplace culture matters. Current Seattleites and first time employees entering Seattle’s workforce want to feel connected to the mission and values of the company where they work. Going to a “grand” office everyday is losing its appeal. People care more about the company’s culture and the people creating that culture. Collaboration, activity, and environments that promote creativity are the driving factors to attract talent. Employees want to be in an activated area (anyone noticing the revival of Seattle’s business district and downtown?) and they have options, driving office trends and locations with employers. Smaller workplaces are a common development, related to factors such as cost of retaining employees and real estate prices, but many feel the pendulum has swung too far with the “open” office. Employees still need privacy and workplace options to accommodate the varied tasks they complete throughout the day. The headphone culture may not cut it anymore. Flexible office spaces and designing for public and private working options are important design trends moving forward.

Office growth: is there cause for concern? Sigh of relief; oversupply is not an issue yet. Demand in this boom cycle is more disciplined this time around, barring any unknown risk factors (international crises, banking failures, etc.). Tenants are more cautious about taking on leases and pre-leasing is happening less. According to the panelists, tech is not going away but instead is expanding into more traditional businesses. The concentrations of SLU business are migrating elsewhere because of supply and new hot beds could include the Central Business District, the Waterfront, and Pioneer Square. Employees want an urban experience and this will keep new businesses in Seattle proper.

One of the biggest limiting growth factors right now is getting enough talent. Some experts say there could be a cliff coming, but it’s not putting a damper on progress . . . . yet.

Speakers at the event included: Craig Kinzer, Norma Miller, Kelly Griffin, Daniel Ivanoff, Craig Wrench, A-P Hurd, Jeff Rakow, Reid Thomas, Stuart Williams, Roger Heeringa, Dave Sabey, Mike Martinez, Tom Parsons, George Petrie, Dina Belon

To learn more visit the BisNow Seattle website.

 – Skye Bredberg, RA, LEED AP

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Saving Salmon One Building at a Time


Above the fold on the front page of The Seattle Times last Friday, Mark Siegel reported on the harm done by highway runoff to our local wildlife, specifically Coho salmon. Researchers from WSU Puyallup found that two and a half hours was all it took to kill adult salmon in water captured from State Route 520. Furthermore, the unique combination of chemicals was difficult to replicate in a lab. To anyone concerned with human impact on the natural world, this highlights the importance of mitigating toxins through new urban development.

Thankfully, the article also proposed a solution. Biofiltration using soil as a medium can have a dramatic effect on salmon’s wellbeing. Early in the design of the Fremont Office Building, the project owner made their intentions clear to Weber Thompson: do what we can to minimize the impact to nearby waterways (both the Fremont Canal and Lake Union are within a stone’s throw of the project site at North 34th Street and Troll Avenue).


As we started to work with our civil engineer, KPFF and better understand the site conditions, we realized that road stormwater runoff – both from Troll Ave and from the Aurora Bridge towering overhead – currently end up in a dedicated storm drain piped to an outfall on Lake Union. It seems hard to believe: brake dust, motor oil, gasoline, heavy metals and who-knows-what-else are getting deposited directly into Lake Union in every major rain event. This is the same lake we all enjoy from water and land – in our sailboats and kayaks; from Eastlake pocket parks and Gas Works Park. More importantly, this is the same lake we share with the salmon on their annual spawning route. This is the reason for the Ballard locks fish ladder – Steelhead, Sockeye, Coho, and Chinook salmon make their way through the locks to Lake Union and then to Lake Washington every year. Continue reading

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Closer to Home: bringing more affordable housing to Seattle


On Thursday, October 8th, Weber Thompson team members and guests attended Bellwether Housing’s annual Closer to Home fundraising breakfast at Benaroya Hall.

After some early morning mingling and coffee, the program began with opening remarks from Doug Daley, Bellwether’s new Executive Director. Marc Stiles of the Puget Sound Business Journal moderated the main event: a powerful panel of three speakers who’ve relied on the affordable housing that Bellwether provides.

One resident had been a hard working sous-chef with two full time jobs, saving to open his own business when he was struck and disabled by a drunk driver. Unable to work and forced to live on a very limited income, this proud man was able to stay in the city, with the dignified living standards he deserves. He remains close to his community and his many doctors rather than being forced out away from the care he needs or even into homelessness through no fault of his own.

Another current resident told of her important but low paying work in community health for a local non-profit. Bellwether Housing allows her to live close to her job, within the community she serves. Unlike many of her peers, she now has no fear of being priced out due to rising rents.

Finally, a former resident told a similar story. Young and new to the area, trying to get a foothold in Seattle, she was able to live in the city near her non-profit job thanks to Bellwether Housing. Now she’s further along in her career and more established, but she and her family face new challenges in affordability as they save for home ownership.

The breakfast event was attended by 275 early risers and raised over $139,000 to support affordable housing and help create more stories like the ones above.

As an advocate level sponsor of the event, we at Weber Thompson are proud to support such a worthy cause. Bellwether Housing is a valued client of ours, and events such as this are a good reminder why we get up in the morning to do what we do.

Special thanks to our staff members and guests who attended:

Alistair Jackson, O’Brien and Company
Catherine Benotto, Weber Thompson
Kris Draper, Morrison Hershfield
Lukas Hovee, 360 Analytics
Mike Nouwens, Nouwens Structural Consultants
Mindy Black, Weber Thompson
Noelle Dobry, Weber Thompson
Rae Anne Rushing, Rushing Engineers
Stacy Segal, Seattle Architecture Foundation

Thank you all so much for your generosity. We look forward to another great event next year.

Jeff Reibman, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Principal, Weber Thompson
2015 Closer to Home Table Captain

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Touring South Lake Union’s Public Art

Did you know that last Thursday was the SLU ArtWalk? Perhaps you participated, and if so, you’ll know that it was an awesome success!  I’ll admit that I barely knew it existed as an event, but had agreed to lead a Seattle Architecture Foundation mini-tour of the neighborhood held in conjunction with the event. The tour was loosely focused on public art in the neighborhood, as well as the surrounding building context.

Starting at the Cascade People’s Center in Cascade Park, my group of about 16 people ventured out past Elizabeth Conner’s “Small Monuments” (2002), a series of broken images recessed into the sidewalk pavement; a subtle reminder of memory, what the site once was, and the promise of the future the neighborhood once embodied.  The artist’s humble approach toward functionality and social values rings strong and pertinent in today’s rapidly-changing SLU neighborhoods (what used to be a school was then a warehouse, now slated for a residential apartment complex). Continue reading

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Recapturing Wasted Office Space

The board room at TalkingRain’s National Headquarters near Seattle, WA. Rachael Bauer helped design the company’s office space which includes flexible work stations that accommodate small meetings as well as larger meeting rooms.


What an intriguing, innovative concept for all – taking advantage of the existing office space and using it to its maximum potential. As we work with our clients to plan new offices, or renovate their existing spaces, this information is a powerful design tool.

We recently heard about a leading-edge service to help in this work. Rifiniti is a company that offers a software analytics service to help companies better understand how their spaces are being used, and then makes suggestions for spatial efficiencies.

Clearly, space utilization has changed – and the design of the workplace must follow suit. The traditional offices generally run 80/20* – 80% individual stations; 20% meeting spaces. As Allsteel, a commercial office furniture manufacturer, points out, “For many organizations…the percentage of individual workspaces being used at any given time – is 40%”. Technology is a key factor in this underutilization due to remote work options, break out spaces and flexible hours. Continue reading

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A Toast to Scott Thompson

Scott Thompson retirement - photo by Erin Lodi Photography

Photo by Erin Lodi Photography.

This toast was delivered by Blaine Weber, AIA, co-founding Principal of Weber Thompson, on September 10th, 2015 at a retirement celebration for Scott Thompson, AIA, LEED BD+C.

* * *

The year 1968 was a pivotal one for the United States, and for the world. It was a time of war; it was a time of revolution; and it was also a time of longing for peace and love.

The Viet Nam war was raging on all fronts, and young guys like Scott and I were subject to being drafted into the armed forces.

Both Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. were assassinated in 1968. Grief from their passing compounded the general sense of dread and fear about the future of our country and for the safety our planet.

There were a lot of songs with love in their titles: The Doors: ‘Hello I love you’; Cream: ‘Sunshine of Your Love’; Led Zepplin: ‘Whole Lotta Love were top hits.

In the fall of 1968 – on the first day of a new school year at Roosevelt High School in Honolulu – two 16-year old transplanted mainland Haole boys met in Mrs. Taniguchi’s math class. Ms. Taniguchi warned us that our only hope for truly understanding quadratic equations would be to partner up with the smartest person in the class.

I can guarantee you that neither myself nor Mr. Thompson looked to be the smartest mathematical minds in the class, but we happened to be sitting next to each other, and I asked this brand new kid from Compton, California about the bright orange 1968 Camaro that I had seen him driving, and we quickly learned that we both shared a passion for surfing. The mysteries of quadratic equations would unveil themselves in due time. Continue reading

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