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Student Work

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Course Description

The Hilltop Project

Hilltop is a Bellevue neighborhood founded and designed by a group of UW architecture graduates and faculty. In the 70 years since its founding Hilltop has maintained a strong sense of collaborative spirit and shared responsibilities. Common facilities include a swimming pool, a tennis court, a playfield and a network of nature trails. These are maintained by six yearly volunteer work parties, followed by community picnics. Friday night potlucks throughout the summer and an end-of summer salmon barbeque are traditions that have continued since Hilltop’s earliest days.

As the times have changed however so has the socio-economic environment in which Hilltop was created. Bellevue has virtually swallowed up the Hilltop community as the Puget Sound region has grown. What were once economical houses built on inexpensive land have become multi-million-dollar properties. What was once conceived as an inclusive, diverse and multi- generational community has over time become homogeneous. Most of the young families who originally founded the community probably wouldn’t be able to afford to buy a house there today.

The focus of the studio was to make an aging community more vibrant by the addition of 20 + dwellings and a shared event space that would tie the community together and re-imagine the original ethos of the neighborhood at large.