Doin’ Our Part: Meet the WT SustainabiliTeam

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In celebration of Earth Month, I want to take a minute to introduce the Weber Thompson SustainabiliTeam (WTST), our version of an internal green team. Despite working in ‘Ecotopia’ (the Pacific Northwest) and despite our progress toward well-sited, energy-efficient, water-efficient, lower-toxicity and lower-resource buildings, now more than ever we need strategic thinking and additional effort to continually improve our project portfolio. Continue reading “Doin’ Our Part: Meet the WT SustainabiliTeam”



Reusing Stormwater Can Release Untapped Benefits

Stormwater Strategies

On September 29th, Weber Thompson Landscape Architecture Principal Rachael Meyer was featured in the Daily Journal of Commerce Environmental Outlook special section. Her article, titled “Reusing Stormwater Can Release Untapped Benefits,” suggests that green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) could help mitigate the effects of stormwater runoff in the urban environment. GSI works because it mimics natural systems to absorb, delay and clean the water within a natural watershed before it reaches a collecting body of water.

Read the article on the DJC to learn about GSI strategies, or visit our website to learn about the green stormwater strategies that will be used at the Fremont Office Building.  Continue reading “Reusing Stormwater Can Release Untapped Benefits”



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 “Meet the Staff: Rachael Meyer”



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.

 



From paper to reality: Watching Raven Terrace come to life

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I recently had the pleasure of attending the grand opening for Raven Terrace, which marks the second completed low-income, multifamily building in Seattle’s Yesler Terrace neighborhood. While the completion of great multi-family projects is work as usual here at Weber Thompson, this project has special significance to me personally and also for the city of Seattle.

Three years ago, Weber Thompson hired me as a part of their high rise studio. However, due to shifting project schedules my first role was project designer on Raven Terrace. I was excited to tackle something new and different. While I had volunteered with Habitat for Humanity before, my familiarity with “government housing” was somewhat antiquated. I quickly learned Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) takes the design quality of their projects seriously. To ensure our team’s design could respond to the community the building would serve, SHA shepherded meetings for us with the Yesler Terrace neighborhood and future building tenants. Understanding the backgrounds and stories from the neighborhood enriched the building design and better equipped us to serve the residents. Furthermore, with sweeping views of the city and Mount Rainier, the site held plenty of potential for something exceptional. Most importantly though, SHA’s vision for evolving a healthy, vibrant and accessible community in the heart of Seattle drove the success of Raven Terrace. Continue reading “From paper to reality: Watching Raven Terrace come to life”



Saving Salmon One Building at a Time

Image courtesy Bureau of Land Management on Flickr.
Image by Flickr user Bureau of Land Management.

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).

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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 “Saving Salmon One Building at a Time”



The secret ingredient for success: give pedestrians a shortcut

Give pedestrians a shortcut

“…Frequent streets and short blocks are valuable because of the fabric of intricate cross-use that they permit among the users of a city neighborhood.” 

― Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Jane Jacobs’ concept of frequent streets and short blocks is one that works its way into a surprising number of Weber Thompson projects in the form of mid-block, pedestrian connectors.

These connecting paths create new and interesting points of access to a neighborhood, and, when done well, provide  shelter safety, and enhanced walkability. For many, the passthroughs create pockets of active space where retail can spill out – linking parallel streets and increasing retail cores.  Here are some of our most recent (and interesting) pedestrian connectors:   

At 4730 California, the main building lobby was pulled deep within the pedestrian corridor to keep ‘eyes on the street’ (another of Jacobs’ concepts) and activate the community-requested passageway. Lushly landscaped and lit with a glowing panel wall, it’s an inviting place to hang out or use as a shortcut through the block. 

At Pike Motorworks, it’s all about the mid-block pedestrian experience. An elaborate passageway, rich with retail, criss-crosses through the site, creating a deep pedestrian canyon overflowing with sculptures (is there more than one?), benches and other amenities. In this public/private realm the pace is just a little bit slower and life can happen at a human scale and pace. 

For South Kirkland TOD, the pedestrian passageway was the centerpiece of the design concept.  An open pathway that leads between parking, transit hub, and housing serves as the connective fabric linking all of the elements together. 

It’s in these areas where residents can live, play and relax. The little conveniences or thoughtful details – like getting from one place to another more quickly, or having a quiet, covered place to sip a cup of coffee – are the details in our projects that can add up to much, much more.