August 27, 2015

Staff field trip 2015

It is a much-loved Architecture staff tradition that every summer, we take one afternoon to venture out on a field trip to tour a local building or site of architectural significance. We are often joined by the department chair, and this year marked incoming chair Brian McLaren’s first time joining the fun.  We generally wrap up our visit with a relaxing lunch, giving us time to catch up and enjoy each other’s company outside of office walls and to-do lists.

Past field trips have included the Seattle Public Library, the Bullitt Center, and the AIA Seattle offices. On August 7, Brian and the staff headed south to the Georgetown area for a tour of the new GSA Federal Services South Building, designed by ZGF Architects.  Known to its occupants as Building 1202 or “the Oxbow,” the structure is the redevelopment of an existing warehouse (Building 1202) located at Federal Center South in Seattle.

A representative from GSA led us through the original historic building, which at one time was home to a Henry Ford plant, to the stunning new high-performance 1202 building, which creates an open, collaborative workplace environment for the US Army Corps of Engineers. The building’s form echos the natural oxbows (a U-shaped bend in a river) of the adjacent Duwamish Waterway. Timber reclaimed from the existing non-historic  warehouse on the site is used in bridges and stairs throughout the atrium to connect people across the building, and the spaces are flooded with abundant natural light.  It was no surprise that this building was named the AIA Top Ten Plus winner for 2015!  We were honored to have an insider’s look inside, and a stroll around the beautiful grounds.

After our tour, we headed to lunch at one of Georgetown’s bustling hotspots, Fonda la Catrina, for a delicious meal of Mexican food served on a sunny patio.  After lunch, we got a sneak peek at a new restaurant right next door where member of our staff, Steve Withycombe, is currently working to build out the space.

It was an educational and convivial day spent together and we look forward to our next field trip in summer 2016!