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Mexico City Studio

Images 1-3: Between Everyday and Emergency, Claire Sullivan

How can we make our living spaces more adaptable as our daily circumstances change drastically? From pandemics to natural disasters, we are constantly working to find a balance between adapting to unexpected shifts in our environment and enjoying the everyday moments of our lives. This studio researched adaptive reuse and renovation options for a well-loved existing housing complex in Mexico City that is falling into disrepair but maintains a lively community. This proposal explores the question: what if necessary earthquake evacuation infrastructure were paired with public space to complement the aerial pedestrian streets at Mario Pani’s seminal CUPA housing project in Mexico City? Centro Urbano Presidente Aleman, more commonly referred to as CUPA, is an alternative housing proposal that was completed in 1949 in Mexico City by architect Mario Pani. This work came during a movement to prove that shared housing was a progressive and sustainable way of living outside of a single family home. With about 1,000 apartments plus public amenities on site and many original apartment owners still tenants, CUPA remains a vibrant example for successful urban housing today. Over the years and through a few earthquakes, the structure has become unstable and is at high risk for seismic destruction should another natural disaster hit. The building has many unique renovations specific to apartment owners and has a cherished community spirit throughout it. In the time of the pandemic and speculating into the future for needs of incoming residents, this project challenges and expands on the “sky streets” or wide communal walkways in the building by exploring how semi-private space looks and how residents can have some precious personal outdoor space without having to go to the ground level out in public, especially as many elderly residents have expressed. Speculating into the future for the needs of incoming residents and how this beloved housing complex might adapt to unforeseen conditions, one opportunity these apartments present is a stronger indoor-outdoor relationship at the unit level. This proposal, combined with the context of street skies at CUPA, bumps out the communal walkways to provide more permanent space for residents to interact with neighbors and step out for fresh air without an excursion planned. The independent frame acts as a series of balconies for activity and a central stair to be enveloped by the life of CUPA, as well as acting as life raft with an emergency stair. Through a kit of parts method, the steel grid provides places for balconies for individual residents, circulation for neighbors, and safety for the complex if an earthquake were to hit. With the goals of more indoor-outdoor connection, relationship to neighbors, improved access vertically through the building, and a light touch on the site, this independent frame hosts a series of balconies for activity and central stair to be enveloped by the life of CUPA, as well as a life raft in the event of an earthquake emergency.


Images 4-6: Life on the Edge, Emily Crichlow

This project studies the existing barrier fence and proposes a new condition on the edges of the site that create ever changing thresholds that start to identify ways to merge and also accommodate the connection between public street life and a residential housing complex. The most challenging part of this project was designing a site intervention at a location that our studio was unable to visit due to travel restrictions. Working with these conditions taught me the importance of understanding not only the physical characteristics of a site, but also the embedded cultural and social influences.

Ballard Rehabilitation & Veterans Occupational Services Facility

The Ballard Rehabilitation & Veterans Occupational Services (BRAVOS) Facility is a care facility for veterans of the U.S. armed forces. In addition to the functional program, found in a separate document, you should consider the purposes and uses of your facility as a healing environment with a mission to heal the whole person, physically, emotionally and spiritually. You should look beyond the therapeutic and vocational services and how the design of the facility can help connect or reconnect veterans to their families and their community. I am not a veteran, but we should all learn of the life issues of this special group of service men and women. If there are veterans in the class, they should serve as a source of information.


A precedent project, the Center for the Intrepid, has been provided. You should read through this project document. The scale of this center is much larger than our 10,000 square foot area, but many of the spatial examples should be reviewed.


A statement by Surgeon General of the Army, Lt. General Kiley said:

Recognizing that the soldiers’ future quality of life, their ability to care for themselves and provide for their families, and their very survival depends on the treatment, rehabilitation and advanced training skills they receive following their injury. The Chairman of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (IFHF), Arnold Fisher, called and asked, “How can we help?”


Images 1-6 Stephanie King 


Place for People Experiencing Homelessness (PPEH) is a 24/7 facility providing walk-in services to those experiencing homelessness. As part of a continuum of services provided throughout the city, the PPEH serves as a place for immediate relief for basic services and care, while working with other agencies and organizations in the region that focus on longer-term housing and counseling solutions.

Images 1-7  The Garden, Andrew Baltimore 

Urban Design for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience

Studio Description: 

This interdisciplinary studio supports efforts by the City of Westport and South Beach Community to achieve resilience in the face of earthquakes, tsunamis, sea level rise, and other coastal hazards. Students explore combinations of architectural, landscape, community design, transportation, and land use strategies that anticipate future environmental changes. Such strategies include the design and programming of tsunami vertical evacuation structures (VAS) and their integration into the landscape and community; integrating Westport’s Complete Streets program with its evacuation plan; and envisioning ecologically low-impact uphill developments for current amenity and future refuge and resettlement.

The graduate section of the studio also coordinates with an on-going National Science Foundation (NSF) Coastlines and People (CoPe) project to develop a visual and textual geo-narrative of past and future hazards and environmental change in the community. The student design explorations and the geo-narrative – a platform for engaging community members in resilient strategy development – make use of a high-resolution 3D digital model of the community and its landscape.

Student work is of direct use to the community in on-going planning projects; receive national attention through the NSF CoPe project, “Coastal Hazard Planning in Time”; and receive international attention through the inter-university ArcDR3 Initiative, including presentation at the 10th anniversary of Japan’s 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in March 2021. Lessons from that and other disasters and recoveries around the Pacific also inform the studio work.

Images 1-6  Cedar Retreat: Coming Full Circle (Or Almost), Amanda Hosmer

Images 7-13  Floating Neighborhoods: Amphibious Housing Prototypes, Variell Limas

Images 14-21  The Westport Ocean Market VES, Lucy Zhong



Tiresias Institute for the Blind & Visually Impaired

According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 12 million people 40 years and over in the United States have vision impairment, including 1 million who are blind, 3 million who have vision impairment after correction, and 8 million who have vision impairment due to uncorrected refractive error. This particular set of conditions also effects growing numbers of youth and young adults, and together they form a community of all ages, genders races and ethnicities. The mission of the Washington State School for the Blind is to provide specialized quality educational services to visually impaired and blind youth ages birth-21 within the state of Washington. It is located in Vancouver, WA with a regional office in Pasco.

The Tiresias Institute will be a satellite facility and outreach center aimed at the entire spectrum of the visually impaired community. It will offer educational opportunities and career services, along with cultural and community support services for blind and visually impaired youth and adults in Seattle. It will also serve as a site to host short-term programs for students visiting from the main campus and throughout the state, so that they can benefit from engaging in the urban culture of Seattle. Although relatively small, this facility will provide vital educational, cultural and social opportunities to blind, visually impaired and sighted constituencies, and will be universally accessible. This project aspires to set the highest standards of architectural quality and environmental responsibility while also striving to physically inspire its students and visitors to explore and appreciate built and natural environments with all of their senses.


Images 1-6 Gateway Tiresias Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Andreas Bakkeboe

Images 7-12  Tiresias Center for Visually Impaired and Blind; Multifamily Housing, Peter Ostergaard


Re-Building Community

In ARCH 404 “Re-Building Community”, student design teams produced design proposals for a community-based brief in Seattle’s Central Area–a neighborhood striving to preserve affordable and socially connected communities that have been threatened by rising real estate costs and other threats to long-time residents. The main focus of the project was a community center in support of area seniors and youth aging out of foster care. Additional community amenities such as a community kitchen and a food coop will serve all residents of the neighborhood.

The site, located on the corner of 30th Ave. S. and S. King St., currently supports an existing center that is beyond repair, and its parking lot. The real-world concept for the project is to re-build the center with an updated social vision and remove parking from the surface to increase the usefulness of the beautiful property. The current plan calls for affordable housing on a substantial portion of the site to provide initial development and construction funding, as well as ongoing long term revenue. However, for this studio we substituted complementary programming in order to maintain uniform planning and construction logic in support of the main goals of the 404 studio: sustainability, integrated structural planning, and focused design of the building envelope in consideration of energy and daylighting goals, the structural scheme, and façade composition, materiality, and character in relation to place.

This studio introduced students to the collaborative aspects of building design as encountered in contemporary practice. Teams of 3 or 4 students produced a single design solution to the project brief. The studio team worked together to develop proposals, but each member would also have an issue on which they are expected to develop research and take the lead in applying research to the group’s design.

Images 1-9 Heartwood Community Village, Sean Eakman

Images 10-15 Dune Bridge, Blue Jo

Images 16-22  The Coffee Lounge, Nicole Mygatt


Positive / Negative

The general requirements of the program – making and displaying photography – need individual interpretation. Each of you will determine the idea of visual art that will inform and guide the design of the building. You will each develop your own program depending on the selected photographer, process and idea, but you must include space for making and showing the work and telling the story of the project. Program elements need to be given a hierarchy and interpreted according to a story or poem. Light is both fundamental to photography and to our understanding of void or space. The rooms for displaying and making photographs will respond to particular qualities of natural light and shadow throughout the day, season and year, guided by ideas and processes of photography explored in the project. The display/gallery need not be on Shilshole Avenue, but it should be readily accessible from the street. Room for making images will vary with the photographer. For some, studios and workshops may be important, for some traditional dark rooms are needed while others will explore digital techniques of development and reproduction. The diversity of activities broadens the scope of the photographer’s work, and adds a degree of complexity and flexibility to the character and quality of the space.

Images 1-5 Positive / Negative, Angus Bastone

Images 6-10 Positive / Negative, Nayana Cardoso

Images 11-14 Positive / Negative, Nathanel Alex Cohen 

Images  Positive 15-20 / Negative, Trong Luong