“Rad Row House”: A Musical Celebration of Affordable Housing Week

The Weber Thompson office is full of talented, passionate individuals who care about the issues surrounding our city. Last month a few of these individuals stepped up to help us participate in the Housing Development Consortium’s (HDC) 2017 Affordable Housing Week. The week took place from May 15th-22nd and focused on the growing issue of affordability and livability in Seattle. Continue reading ““Rad Row House”: A Musical Celebration of Affordable Housing Week”



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 “WT Wheelies Raise $900 for Bikeworks”



HEADLINES and the Value of Design Dialogue

I’ve been a member of the Architecture Professionals Advisory Council (UW Arch PAC) at the University of Washington since 2008 and am the current chair of the committee that organizes and supports the annual spring exhibit HEADLINES: Architecture Looking Ahead. This exhibit highlights emerging architectural projects from Washington practitioners and is a preview of the ideas, process and evolution of the upcoming work that will shape our future built environment. An overview of the design innovation and influence of local practitioners both large and small, HEADLINES offers an exciting preview of projects to be built regionally, nationally and globally. The exhibit will travel to Pacific Northwest schools and institutions throughout the year. Continue reading “HEADLINES and the Value of Design Dialogue”



How did we get here? The long path to Passive House

The-path-to-passive-house-blog-Header

Last month, the DJC published my article discussing Passive House certification and the design implications in multi-family construction. I used Weber Thompson’s 1300 Pike project in Capitol Hill as a case study. But to better understand the goal of this shift toward Passive House, allow me to pontificate further, with a look at the history of sustainability efforts and how we got to where we are today.  Continue reading “How did we get here? The long path to Passive House”



A temporary fix of caffeine and kebab

Milstead & Co.

As a busy and successful coffee shop or restaurant owner, the thought of temporarily moving your business is unthinkable. However, when presented with the opportunity to come back to the same location (but in a brand new, energy-efficient building), you might think about it. This is the case with two local Fremont favorites, Milstead & Co. Coffee and Café Turko. Both businesses have temporarily relocated across Troll Ave N. into the old Titan Electric Building. The reason? A new office building is under development for Tableau on the site of their old home. This highly sustainable building will house 106,000 square feet of Class A office space and 11,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. The client is dedicated to incorporating these two beloved businesses back into the new building.

To make it work, Milstead & Co. and Café Turko relocated to a space that supports their needs and stays close to their customer base with very little downtime. The Titan Building, just across Troll Ave N, was the logical choice for this temporary home, keeping them close to the neighborhood. Its location had been used over the years as a dance studio, lighting design company, glass art studio, construction company offices and as a warehouse. Now coffee shop and Turkish restaurant are also on that list. Continue reading “A temporary fix of caffeine and kebab”



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 “The art of glass”



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).

project-images

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”



Touring South Lake Union’s Public Art

http://www.sluartwalk.com

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 “Touring South Lake Union’s Public Art”



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 “Recapturing Wasted Office Space”