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Seismic Design Studio

Earthquakes are a fundamental part of life in the Pacific Northwest. Every year, our collective understanding of the geological faults underneath Washington and Oregon improves, giving a more detailed picture of the seismic risks of our region. While unsettling at times, this reality is both a design responsibility and opportunity. Embracing seismic risk as a fundamental part of building design opens up new modes of thinking, and can reveal new possibilities. Seismic design can accommodate new technologies, new design strategies, and new conceptualizations of building themselves. Students will be challenged to consider seismic issues not simply as a problem to be solved, but as a prompt to re-consider many aspects of building design. This studio will consult with current leading professionals in understanding seismic hazards, and produce an innovative, seismically-advanced, building design proposal. This work will require interdisciplinary thinking, and cooperation between geologists, engineers, architects, policy makers and others.

Images 1-5  Kinetic Canopy, Nathan Brown 

Tranberg Scan|Design

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.