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UW M Arch students selected as finalists for the GRAY Awards

Furniture pieces designed and built by Master of Architecture students Morocco Branting and Jeremy Salesin in our 2023 Scan Design Furniture Studio have been selected as finalists in the GRAY Awards Student Design category.

The GRAY Awards is an international competition recognizing creative excellence & outstanding work happening around the world. Read more about the students’ projects here.

Winners will be announced in March 2024. Congratulations to both!

Modern Architecture Activism: The Life and Work of Benjamin F. McAdoo, Jr.

This exhibit showcases the modern architectural designs and social activism of Benjamin F. McAdoo Jr. (1920-1981) – a graduate of the University of Washington, Department of Architecture, and the first Black architect registered in Washington State. McAdoo’s life and work linked two distinct worlds in the mid-century period: the struggle for racial equity and civil rights, and the rise of modernism in architectural design. This exhibit highlights how McAdoo’s engaged, activist modern architecture bridged these often-disparate worlds, and challenged the status quo from the late 1940s through the 1970s.

Support for this exhibit provided by 4Culture, the CBE Inspire Fund, and the Department of Architecture.

Gould Gallery, Gould Hall
3950 University Way, University of Washington
Exhibit Open February 1st to March 15th

Opening Reception, Wednesday February 7th, 5:30pm
Link to Opening Reception Event:

UW Student Chapter Competes in 2023’s NOMA National Conference

Congratulations to our University of Washington National Organization of Minority Architects student chapter (NOMAS UW) who represented the College of Built Environments and the Department of Architecture at 2023’s NOMA National Conference. They participated in this year’s Barbara G. Laurie Student Design Competition, one of the highlights of the conference held in October in Portland.

Students Receive 2023 Planet Positive Award from Metropolis Magazine

In Winter 2023, four interdisciplinary student teams in the Architecture 507 design studio explored development strategies at the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in the Central District. One of teams was recognized with the 2023 Planet Positive Award for Student Work from Metropolis Magazine. The team consisted of: Bryce Boho (Architecture), William Flanagan (Architecture), Lu He (Landscape Architecture), Alicia Jacobs (Urban Design and Planning), Facundo Jaime (Architecture), Jacob Schmitz (Architecture). Faculty included: Donald King (Architecture), Brice Maryman (Landscape Architecture), Rick Mohler (Architecture), Jess Zimbabwe (Urban Design and Planning).

Seattle’s Central District, a long-standing African-American community, is facing strong gentrification and displacement pressures. As a result, Black churches face difficult decisions about whether to stay in the district or relocate. In response, the Nehemiah Initiative—a collaboration between church leadership, academic institutions, city departments, and affordable housing advocates – strives to leverage the churches’ property and assets to mitigate the ongoing gentrification and displacement through strategic urban design and real estate development. By adding sustainably built affordable housing and public spaces, the initiative can support black homeownership and small-business opportunities. At the same time, the plans maximize green stormwater infrastructure and on-site energy production while leveraging off-site prefabrication, including volumetric modular and mass timber construction, to reduce embodied carbon and costs.

UW Selected to Host the 2024 AIAS West Quad Conference

2024 WQC Banner Pink Background


We are proud to announce that UW AIAS is hosting the 2024 West Quad Conference, Bloom: Emerging Solutions for Urban Sustainability, in Seattle from April 4-7, 2024. This conference will welcome architecture students from around the western United States to our city, where they will experience Seattle’s commitment to sustainability, visionary attitude, and, of course, award-winning architectural accomplishments. The 2024 West Quad Conference will encompass keynote speeches, firm tours, building tours, workshops, panels, and a career fair related to the three programming cornerstones: Innovation and Efficiency, Environmental Responsiveness, and Sustainable Urban Growth.

The UW AIAS Chapter is also known for hosting a peer mentorship program encapsulating 160+ student volunteers, skills workshops, building tours, and the annual CBE Beaux Arts Ball, which garnered 200+ attendees in 2023. We are a capable and enthusiastic community! If you would like to inquire about involvement or sponsorship in the 2024 West Quad Conference, please contact

Professor Rick Mohler Appointed Chair of the Department of Architecture

Professor Rick Mohler was appointed Chair of the Department of Architecture in June 2023. Throughout his career he has promoted just, policy-driven cities, shaped by principled design, addressing all scales of urban experience through teaching, action research, professional practice, and community engaged scholarship and service. In doing so, he strengthens connections between the academy, profession, government, and community. Through his own practice, work with other firms, and independent collaborations, Rick has been recognized thirty-seven times in local, regional, national, and international design awards programs and design competitions. His students have been recognized over twenty times in regional, national, and international design competitions and awards programs.

Over the past few years, he has received a 2019 R+D Award from Architect magazine, a 2021 ACSA/AIA Housing Design Education Award, a 2022 Place Design Award from the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA), and a 2022 AIA Small Projects Award. Rick is a former member of the AIA Seattle Board of Directors, former Co-Chair of the AIA Seattle Public Policy Board and former Co-Chair and current member of the Seattle Planning Commission. In recognition of his contributions in practice, education, research, and advocacy, he was elevated to Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 2021 and received the AIA Seattle Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement, the highest honor the chapter bestows on its members, in 2022.

MArch Grad Mike Mora featured in New York Times

Loyal Captain - Heliotrope Render by Notion Workshop

Loyal Captain – Heliotrope


Mike Mora (MArch 1994), a partner in Seattle-based Heliotrope Architects, had a recently completed remodel and addition to a landmarked Seattle home featured in the New York Times on September 6. The article titled “A Ship Captain’s House in Seattle, via Norway, Finds New Life” applauds the contemporary yet sensitive addition to the traditional house.

The Norwegians have an expression: “Wood is our living archive.” As early as A.D. 800, the Vikings displayed their excellent craftsmanship and knowledge of wood construction techniques in their longships.

Heliotrope Architects honors such craft traditions, which may explain the kitchen’s deep resonance to Ms. Schneider.

“The kitchen really feels like a collaboration; it really did come out as I hoped,” she said. “I now feel connected to this place through this project: It’s an homage to the old house and a nod to my husband’s Japanese, very minimalist sensibility.”

Tyler Sprague wins 2023 ACSA Timber Education Prize


Associate Professor Tyler Sprague was one of five faculty from throughout North America recognized with a 2023 ACSA Timber Education Prize which honors courses that “seek to recognize effective and innovative curricula that create a stimulating and evidence-based environment for learning about timber.” The award was for Architecture 498: Mass Timber Architecture: Material, Structure, and Detail and includes funding for Tyler to further develop the curriculum over the next two years.


UW students win 2023 AIA/ACSA COTE Top Ten for Students Competition

MArch students Andrew Baltimore and Eric Luth were one of ten winning teams in the 2023 AIA/ACSA COTE Top Ten for Students Competition for their submission Watershed, completed in the Spring 2022 ARCH 508 Research studio with faculty Gundula Proksch and Chris Meek.

“Watershed is an enthralling design with robust information, well executed graphics and clear data. Effectively utilizing the boards to show the quantitative data-driven measures, the project represents a system thinking approach to the design, which clearly shows a rigor of understanding of analysis and environmental metrics.” – Competition Jury

Congratulations to our students and faculty for this outstanding achievement!


Project Description

Located in Seattle, Washington, Watershed is a 105,000 SF research institution situated along the Ballard neighborhood’s historically industrial waterfront. To harmonize the community’s relationship with the natural environment – within an industrial setting – Watershed leverages synergies between a biodiversity research institute, a native plant nursery, a salmon hatchery, and an education center to create an experience centered around community empowerment, resiliency, and a sustainable future.

Recognizing the importance of urban landscapes within the larger biosphere, Watershed’s biodiversity research institute will assess emerging threats to urban ecosystems and wildlife through collaborative, scientific research. The integration of the pacific salmon hatchery will help sustain a critical industry within the Pacific Northwest, while creating opportunities for community education and giving biodiversity researchers direct access to a keystone species. To maximize programmatic synergies, waste water from the hatchery will be captured and recycled into the native plant nursery, where the nutrient-rich water will help fertilize native plant saplings before terminating in the on-site constructed wetland.

Currently classified as temperate marine, Seattle’s climate is underpinned by its native species that continue to be threatened by urbanization and climate change. Growing native plant species in a partially controlled environment provides the community with continued access to healthy native plants, while supporting educational opportunities and critical scientific research. Uniting these programs together is the education center where empowering neighbors, strengthening communal bonds, and creating a forum for public engagement are at the core of its mission. By inspiring the community through knowledge, the education center provides equitable access to resources and experts whose mission is to have a lasting impact on the community and its natural resources.

Merging the ideas of environment, community, and research together, the site breaks the historically inaccessible industrial barrier along the waterfront by creating a new community gathering space that prioritizes the health of the natural environment. A large public pier, a waterfront activities center, and a new space for the existing Salmon Bay Café (a neighborhood staple since 1970) create an energetic amenity for the community that increases accessibility and connection to Ballard’s waterfront. The constructed wetland throughout the site, strategically curated to restore and strengthen existing ecological systems, cleans polluted stormwater runoff heading towards Salmon Bay. This multi-functional landscape promotes community awareness of human impacts on these vital natural systems, while providing researchers with opportunities to observe the intersection of the natural and urban environments.

In Memory of Norman Pfeiffer, FAIA

Source: Pfeiffer Partners


The Department of Architecture is saddened to learn of the passing of one its most illustrious graduates, Norman Pfeiffer, FAIA. Norman was born in Seattle in 1940. His grandfather was a construction superintendent and Norman was interested in architecture at an early age. He enrolled in the five-year program at UW in 1959 and graduated with his B.Arch. Cum Laude in 1964. During his time at UW (on weekends and during the summers), he worked for Paul Hayden Kirk & Associates (Kirk, Wallace, McKinley after 1960). He next spent a year at Columbia University, earning his M.Arch. in 1965. On graduation he joined Hugh Hardy & Associates. In 1967, he was one of the three founding partners of Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates. In 1986 Pfeiffer returned to the West Coast to open the Los Angeles office of HHPA.

HHPA initially designed houses and schools, but gradually took on larger projects and became known for their innovative public buildings including museums and performing arts centers, as well as numerous renovations and adaptive reuse projects. The firm never developed a “house style,” but addressed each project on its own terms within the framework of contemporary architecture.

HHPA was a nationally significant firm that received over 100 national design awards in its 37 years of existence, including the Arnold W. Brunner Prize of the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1974 and the national AIA Firm Award in 1981. The firm and its work received frequent publication. In 1992, Rizzoli published the monograph, Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer, Buildings and Projects 1967-1992; in 1998 Rizzoli published a second volume, Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates: Buildings and Projects 1993-1998.

All three partners became AIA Fellows – Norman Pfeiffer in 1981.

Around 1980, HHPA won the commission for the restoration and expansion of the Los Angeles Public Library. The firm developed an initial concept design, but before this oved forward, arson fires in 1986 and an earthquake the following year caused substantial damage. HHPA revised their designs and the project moved forward under Norman Pfeiffer to completion in 1993. The HHPA Los Angeles office under Pfeiffer’s direction was made permanent.

Pfeiffer served for more than two decades on the University of Washington Architectural Commission beginning in 1989. Pfeiffer taught as a Visiting Professor of Architectural Design at UCLA beginning in 1987, and has also taught at Yale, Cincinnati and other schools.

When HHPA disbanded in 2004, Norman Pfeiffer opened Pfeiffer Partners based in Los Angeles. The firm subsequently opened a New York office. The firm has about 50 professionals in its two offices and continues to take on challenging cultural and educational projects as well as restoration and reuse. And, the firm continues to receive significant recognition, as listed here:

Norman’s son Alex is also a graduate of our program, having received his M.Arch in 2001.

For information about the firm, see: