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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


The Nehemiah Studio 2.0

Student design teams will be producing proposals for a community-based initiative in Seattle’s historic Central District. The Nehemiah Initiative is pursuing multiple strategies to mitigate gentrification and displacement through the development of the real estate assets of historically Black churches. Graduate students in an interdisciplinary Autumn studio have been working on several sites to articulate the social, urban, and economic issues and test feasibility for development scenarios with the goal of providing affordable mixed-use projects according to community needs and desires to retain, bring back, and attract new residents. Our studio will focus on one of the sites.

This project has the capacity to show long-term residents a successful path to maintaining their community in the face of urban transformation. The site, located on the corner of 23rd and Olive, currently supports the Ebenezer AME Zion Church and a YMCA. These institutions are taking a bold step to re-make themselves in order to provide the community with increased amenities and badly needed affordable housing. You will have the benefit of the Autumn studio’s research and analysis. And, you will have the opportunity to work with real-world client to help solve challenges they face today.

Images 1-4, Aubree Nichols

Images 5-7, Camille Fain

Images 10-12, Kendal Schorr

Academic Innovation Building

In this studio, student design teams produced proposals for a new interdisciplinary building on the UW Tacoma campus. The program of the Academic Innovation Building asked for a rich mix of classrooms, faculty office space, labs, and collaborative study spaces. The site is one block uphill from the iconic Prairie Line Trail, and adjacent to the hill-climb that forms the campus spine. The building provides much needed space for both Business and Mechanical Engineering, as well as some general use classrooms. Most importantly, the building is envisioned with the most ambitious sustainability standard in all of UW. Students were asked to envision creative designs for new construction on a growing campus that mixes 19th century and 21st century vibes.