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 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”

Materials Matter Session 2 Recap by Mindi Caulley

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The AIA Seattle, Materials Matter educational series recently came to an end after 5 sessions on building materials and their environmental impact. The deep dive into material health was co-presented by the Puget Sound chapter of the CSI and took place at Seattle City Hall. Each session focused on an individual sub topic of materials and encouraged the use of interactive tools that can be used to implement the ideas discussed. Continue reading “Materials Matter Session 2 Recap by Mindi Caulley”

Reusing Stormwater Can Release Untapped Benefits

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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”

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 “Healthy Materials for a Better World”

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”

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 “Industrial Design student show a huge hit”

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

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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”

Meet the Staff: John Stout

JohnS_rectJohn Stout was recently promoted to Associate at Weber Thompson. He’s a valued member of our High Rise Design Studio, and is currently immersed in the design for Nexus. Learn more about John’s hobbies and interests in this Q&A.

John Stout / Associate, Project Designer

How long have you worked at Weber Thompson and what is your favorite thing about working here?

I have worked at Weber Thompson for almost a year and a half. I have really enjoyed the location, which is in the middle of SLU, and the mass of construction going on around us. I also really enjoy the amount of enthusiasm the staff have about elevating every aspect of our practice, whether that be through our pin-up series, CA lesson learned brown bag sessions or sustainabiliteam initiatives.

What project(s) are you working on at the moment?

970 Denny, a residential tower near our office building, and 1200 Howell (Nexus), a condominium project.

You were recently promoted! What does this mean to you? Continue reading “Meet the Staff: John Stout”