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Tour Bullitt Center with Integrated Design Lab

The Bullitt Center is billed as the world’s greenest commercial building.

The University of Washington Integrated Design Lab will offer tours of the Bullitt Center at 1501 E. Madison St. in Seattle Sept. 9, 11 and 12.

The Bullitt Foundation opened the $32.5 million building in early 2013, and bills it as the world’s greenest commercial building. It earned Living Building certification from the International Living Future Institute.

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Can’t wait to see inside? There’s an app for that

An augmented reality app created by Mortenson Construction is helping University of Washington students and faculty members “visit” a building now under construction. (Courtesy of Mortenson Construction)

A new school for computer science at the University of Washington’s Seattle campus won’t open its doors for classes for at least another 18 months. But students and faculty already have a sense of what it will feel like to sit in its classrooms and walk its halls.

When completed in January 2019, the CSE2 Building, the second part of a two-phase project, will provide much-needed space to serve one of the most popular majors at the university. In the meantime, getting a sneak peek of the building is as easy as downloading an augmented reality app created by Mortenson Construction, the general contractor for the project.

As technology takes an increasingly larger role in how construction projects are designed and built, Mortenson has established itself as a leader in finding ways to incorporate it into its projects. But the company’s interest in tapping technologies like virtual and augmented reality isn’t about the “cool” factor, according to Marc Kinsman, Mortenson’s director of immersive technology.

Meanwhile, at the University of Washington, at least one group has found an unexpected benefit of the app. The construction management department is using it as a way to educate – and even recruit – students for its program, according to Bill Bender, Construction Management department chair.

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Can Seattle avoid Bay Area problems? Using data to predict how neighborhoods will evolve

(From Left) DSSG Fellow Jacob Rich, Assistant Professor Rachel Berney, Data Scientist Bernease Herman, Fellow Hillary Dawkins, and Associate Professor Gundula Proksch worked together to build the Equity Modeler. Data Scientist Amanda Tan and Fellow Yahui Ma who also worked on the project are not pictured. (University of Washington Photo)

Seattle is experiencing unrelenting population growth, driven largely by its booming technology industry. If policymakers are to avoid some of the problems that San Francisco is experiencing due to its own tech boom, they will need to make data-driven decisions.

A team of researchers at the University of Washington want to make it easier for Seattle to do just that. They are developing a tool to analyze Seattle neighborhoods to investigate gentrification and access to opportunity as part of the Data Science for Social Good (DSSG) initiative. They presented their Equity Modeler during an event at the UW on Thursday.

“Our goals are to better understand the distribution of resources across the city, the process that leads to the growing inequity in the city, and also to speculate about ways to move toward a more equitable future,” DSSG fellow Yahui Ma said during the presentation.

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UW-Auburn Livable City Year Concludes

University of Washington students have been working with city of Auburn staff and community members throughout the past year on a wide range of projects tackling challenges around livability and sustainability in the city.

These projects were part of the UW Livable City Year program, which connects one Washington community with UW faculty each year. The faculty incorporate projects identified by that community into their classes, giving their students opportunities to tackle real-world challenges, produce deliverables to a city client and communicate their findings. The partnership with Auburn during the 2016-2017 school year was the program’s first, with more than 160 students working on 17 projects throughout the year.

“This was a tremendous opportunity for our students to partner with residents in Auburn and to put what they’re learning in the classroom to the test out in the world,” UW President Ana Mari Cauce said. “That sort of experiential learning is central to the Husky student experience, and it’s a key part of the UW’s public mission. We greatly appreciate the partnership with the city of Auburn and the entire community, and look forward to seeing the fruits of that partnership continue to blossom.”

The Livable City Year program coordinates student teams from a variety of disciplines who work on projects and programs identified by the community partner. Faculty who led projects for this inaugural year include LCY co-directors Otten and Branden Born of urban design and planning, along with Kyle Crowder, sociology; John Scott Meschke, Amy Hagopian and India Ornelas, public health; Ashley Blazina and Sara Brostrom, environmental studies; Kim Perdue, Foster School of Business; and Richard Conlin, urban design and planning.

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Mary Lund Davis: A champion of modernism in the Pacific Northwest

As an architecture student at the University of Washington in the early 1940s, Mary Lund Davis stood out. Not only would she go on to become the school’s first female graduate after World War II, but during long stretches of her education she was literally the only one in her class, as her fellow students had been called off to war. She recalled doing classwork in the dark because the windows at the school were covered in blackout curtains.

While school may have been a more solitary pursuit for the modern architect and designer, her timing was perfect. Graduating during a time when others in her profession were developing a uniquely Pacific Northwest form of modern architecture (featuring extensive use of unpainted wood and asymmetrical layouts), Mary Lund Davis began her career during a time of progressive experimentation, creating striking homes around Puget Sound.

“My father firmly believed that a woman could do anything that a man could do,” Lund said in a 2002 interview. A prolific artist, designer, and sailor—Lund competed in races across the country—she took that advice to heart.

Lund Davis’s best-known residential designs showcased her fluency with small spaces. According to Jeffrey Ochsner, an architectural historian who teaches at the University of Washington, her body of work exhibited all the signs of what was becoming a very regional form of modernism: wood construction, natural finishes, indoor-outdoor relationships, and open, flowing spaces.

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Corporations Find a Place in the Classroom

The Jacobi family, founders of Windermere Real Estate, have donated $5.4 million to start the undergraduate minor in real estate this Autumn 2017.

The University of Washington’s interdisciplinary mindset is clearly shown through the UW’s real estate program being housed in the College of Built Environments. Traditionally, they’re housed in the business school’s. Edgar Gonzalez, Assistant Dean for Advancement and External Relations at the College of Built Environments said, “For the courses we offered this year, we had 20 to 25 students in every class. The demand is there for these types of courses and for these types of education”.

Before this collaboration, UW only had real estate studies at the graduate level, The goal is to grow this minor into a major. Not all collaborations like this are feeder programs, but Windermere’s hopes to collaborate with UW graduates in the future.

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PSBJ Interviews Windermere Real Estate’s Jill Jacobi Wood

“Jill Jacobi, a board member in the Real Estate department at the University of Washington, says the biggest current challenge for real estate in this region is lack of housing. The co-president of Windermere Real Estate says developers aren’t building condominiums, which makes their business really hard.

In an interview done by PSBJ, Jill says, “This city is such an amazing place to live but you have to keep it affordable or it won’t be an amazing place to live anymore”.

Although concerned about the lack of condominium building being done, Jacobi stays optimistic and explains she feels confident in the Real Estate markets’ education department and networking events. She believes here is a lot of room for more competitors in the market right now.”

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Birds versus buildings

About one billion birds are killed every year when they unwittingly fly into human-made objects such as buildings with reflective windows. Such collisions are the largest unintended human cause of bird deaths worldwide — and they are a serious concern for conservationists.

A new paper published in June in the journal Biological Conservation finds that, as one might suspect, smaller buildings cause fewer bird deaths than do bigger buildings. But the research team of about 60 — including three co-authors with the University of Washington — also found that larger buildings in rural areas pose a greater threat to birds than if those same-sized buildings were located in an urban area.

Lead author of the paper is Stephen B. Hager, professor of biology at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. Co-author Karen Dyson, an urban design and planning doctoral candidate in the UW College of Built Environments helped collect bird-collision data and assisted in editing the paper, along with UW alumni Anqi Chen and Carolyn Foster.

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City of Seattle Hires Ginger Armbruster as Chief Privacy Officer

“With Ginger’s return to the City, we can expect Seattle to once again raise the profile of possibilities for protecting public interests in municipal data, setting an example for cities across the nation to follow,” said Dr. Jan Whittington, Associate Professor of the Department of Urban Design and Planning, at the University of Washington.

College of Built Environments alumna, Ginger Armbruster, was hired as chief privacy officer by the city of Seattle on Monday, July 10th. She received her master’s degree in infrastructure planning management from the University of Washington. In her role, she will work to protect the Seattle community’s privacy by ensuring that the way data is used aligns with Seattle’s Privacy Principles. Mayor Edward Murray and the City Council defined Seattle’s Privacy principles in 2015 as how the city collects, uses, and disposes of data.

Michael Mattmiller-City of Seattle Chief Technology Officer, Jose Manuel Vasquez-Community Technology Advisory Board Chairman, and Alex Alben-State of Washington Chief Privacy Officer all know Ginger has the experience to push Seattle to continue to be a leader with privacy programs.

Previously, she developed and ran the privacy program for Office Marketing at Microsoft, where she was senior privacy manager. “I’m excited to get back to building this ground-breaking program.” says Ginger Armbruster, “I hope to establish a world-class privacy program for the City of Seattle and set an example for others to follow.”

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Climate Change Solutions … from the Humanities?

City/Nature: Urban Environmental Humanities is a three-week institute where professors, graduate students, and scholars from all over the country explore how the humanities can make an impact in the age of climate change.

UW professors Thaisa Way, Richard Watts, and Ken Yocom designed the institute, which resembled a summer camp, involving picnics, city tours, and communal dinners. Both the campers and counselors were some of the most esteemed scholars, professors, and thinkers in the their respective fields.

On July 5, University of California Santa Barbara professor Eric Prieto presented on “Informal Urbanism and the Hard Question of the Anthropocene,” addressing the growth of slums in the modern era.

The following day Stephanie LeMenager, a University of Oregon professor, presented on how forms of literature can address climate denial in “The Humanities in the Era of Climate Change.”

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eHAB Cabin Featured in New Book

LED lighting, a dual-flush toilet, and “energy-efficient” window systems are only a few of the reasons why Eric Cobb, Founder of E. Cobb Architects and UW College of Built Environments Alumni, is acknowledged for his cutting edge eHAB Cabin.

The cabin is featured in Sheri Koones’ “Prefabulous Small Houses” book. She says, “Happily, I believe that people in the Seattle area are really sophisticated regarding the best methods of construction and are among the most environmentally conscious people in the country… There are no downsides to building prefab — only advantages.”

The angst and nerves were in the air along with the prefabricated cabin, but now the eHAB cabin is settled along Lake Washington.”

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2017 CBE Graduation Celebration

Message from the Dean:

It is a great pleasure for us to celebrate the many accomplishments of the 300 members of the College’s Class of 2017 as they depart the protective environment of the College to embark on their professional careers.  All are well prepared to take on their professional responsibilities for shaping our future built environments. These graduates join our distinguished Alumni who have served society for the past 100 years.

To the graduates:  You have done well.  Congratulations on achieving this milestone in your lives.  Graduation represents a new beginning as you embark on your professional careers to apply what you have learned.  You will always be able to reflect on what you learned and the friends that you have made here.  You are joining a worldwide network of Husky alumni who are undaunted in their pursuit of excellence.

We look forward to seeing your impact and passion shape how we work together to solve challenges in the built environment.

Congratulations Huskies!

John Schaufelberger,

Dean, College of Built Environments

To see more photos from the event, view the full gallery.

Lt. Governor Keynotes CEP Commencement

“Don’t ‘check your privilege at the door’,” Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib said, “It’s handy. Put it to use.”

The Lt. Governor delivered the keynote address at the University of Washington’s commencement ceremony for the Community, Environment, and Planning program last Saturday.

Housed in the College of Built Environments, the Community, Environment, and Planning program takes an interdisciplinary approach to community issues and planning, and students finish the program with a capstone project of their design. Projects ranged from redesigning Seattle intersections to be more bike-friendly, to using photography in elementary schools to encourage K-12 interest in the environment — a wide variety of approaches to the common goal of conscientious community planning.

The Lt. Governor spoke to the class’ common civic ethos by offering advice for both personal success, and for making an impact on the world.

On personal professional development, the Lt. Governor urged students to stay in contact with their instructors in the years to come. The Community, Environment, and Planning program, with a close-knit cohort of 38 students this year, represents a great opportunity for mentorship, and the Lt. Governor advised students to continue to seek out their advice past graduation.

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Creating Experiences, Not Objects – Graduate Speaker David Goldberg

When Dave Goldberg – president and architect at Mithun – thinks back on his time at UW and what continues to resonate with him, two things come to mind. The first is the mix of great full time professors like Sergio Palleroni and Jeffrey Ochsner, and the inspiring local practitioners including Gordon Walker, Mark Millett, and Dave Miller, many of whom have remained Goldberg’s mentors. The second is the focus on hands-on learning and community engagement.

“I spent a winter quarter in Mexico, where we built a road, water collection cistern, and planned a future school building. It was an incredibly influential experience that shaped both my technical skills and values,” Goldberg said.

Both Mexico City and Seattle are a long way from the New York City area, where Goldberg spent lots of time exploring and making his way through Manhattan’s urban grid. Completing his undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia, he immersed himself in project based learning. Soon after graduating, Goldberg drove across the country to Fairbanks, Alaska where he worked construction and spent time bending rebar at a precast concrete plant. Leaving Alaska for his first design job back in New York, Goldberg worked for a year without pay during a big recession to help build his experience before beginning graduate school at UW.

While completing his M.Arch., Goldberg found a home with Mithun as a model maker. In 2003, he was the youngest person to join the board of directors and soon after was promoted to be president. Goldberg can give a dozen reasons why he’s stayed at Mithun for the majority of his career, but highest on his list is the company ethos.

“Our firm’s mission is “Design for Positive Change.” We strive to make each of our projects beautiful, but the real indicators of our success is how the projects positively impact individual users, communities, and our planet,” he said.

Because the firm doesn’t have a signature style, the team is able to mold every project to be a direct expression of the people it is serving, as well as the physical environment and community where it is built.

“Our goal as a firm is to – create experiences, not objects – in every design we touch,” Goldberg said. “My goal is to help continue the trajectory of quality of our work in every aspect of our practice. I am constantly amazed at the caliber of our projects, clients, and staff.”

As Goldberg meets with current students and recent graduates he encourages them to find a firm that resonates with their values, continues to nurture their curious spirt, and gives them opportunities to constantly learn.

He also sites his most challenging and rewarding project as a personal one. In 1999, he and his wife bought a 500 square foot house and spent the next five years demolishing, constructing, and designing their home where they still live with their two kids.

“We did almost all of the construction ourselves, including foundations, plumbing, and electrical work. I learned a ton about permitting, construction and most importantly patience,” he said.

Outside of leading Mithun, Goldberg is involved in a number of community organizations including the Woodland Park Zoo, and IslandWood where he was the lead designer for the camp’s 255 acre campus.

“Im a big advocate of the power of informal science learning. Engaging children during their formative years with these kinds of integrated experiences can have a big impact on them as they develop,” Goldberg said.

Goldberg feels that if organizations like IslandWood and the Woodland Park Zoo can touch kids in their brains and their hearts, developing a love for the natural world, they will be more likely to care for it as they begin to make decisions as engaged members of our community.

Dave Goldberg will be the College of Built Environments’ 2017 graduation speaker. Graduation will take place on Friday, June 9 at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall.

UW architecture students create vision for downtown Bothell’s future

The rebuilding of Main Street could be just one of the changes to come to the historic area in downtown Bothell.

As part of a spring quarter class, University of Washington (UW) architecture students have been working with city staff and local business owners to develop a vision for the future.

As part of the vision, they also looked to the past, wanting to restore some of the Main Street storefronts to their historical look, based on pictures they found.

“We heard a desire to bring back the historical character,” UW senior Nieka Moss said of her group’s work with the historical facades.

One group of students came up with the idea to create a parking structure just north of the Main Street businesses, turning one of the alleys off of Main Street into an arcade with more businesses leading to the structure.

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Pacific County market heats up

Pacific County home sales up 20%, prices up 15% in 1st quarter 2017

Washington state’s housing market showed the continuing influence of high demand and tightening supply in the first three months of the year, according to the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington.

Pacific County reported some of the best real estate results in Western Washington in the first three months of 2017. Twenty percent more homes were sold during the quarter compared to the same months in 2016, and prices increased by 15 percent to an average of $150,900. The number of residential building permits issued in the county increased 125 percent.

Despite these gains, the Runstad Center still ranks Pacific County as having the most affordable housing in Western Washington.

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Honored by Olmsted – David de la Cruz

Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, David de la Cruz spent his high school years attending Communities for a Better Environment youth meetings, while also watching his mother grow to become a pillar of the community, shaping his ideas for the potential of his own impact.

“Communities for a Better Environment’s commitment to social justice provided me with a strong foundation to begin building my career path around placing the voices of communities at the forefront, advocating for healthier and safer communities,” de la Cruz said.

Now weeks away from completing a Master of Landscape Architecture, David is looking back on three years of learning from innovative thinkers and doers, traveling the world, and participating in transformational community development. And for his work and designs, David has been selected as the 2017 National Olmsted Graduate Student Scholar.

David says being honored as the 2017 Olmsted Scholar demonstrates the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s commitment to sustainable leadership and advancing the goals of environmental and climate justice advocates.

David’s local collaborative project “Lot Liberation” is an expansion of work that has already been done by several organizations throughout the Los Angeles area to transform vacant lots into useable and vibrant public spaces. Many of these projects, which have been led by Free Lots Angeles, the Trust for Public Land, and LA Open Acres Mapping Project – led by Community Health Councils, work to convert unused lots into functioning spaces that reflect the area’s culture, history, art, and community.

Credit: Photo: Carmen Vasquez photo

“Through Lot Liberation I see the willingness of local artists to exhibit their work and focus on important issues such as affordable housing and displacement. Through the use of vacant lots we can bring visibility to local struggles for justice,” de la Cruz said.

The honor of the Olmsted fellowship, means David receives a $25,000 prize to help further his local collaborative projects like Lot Liberation.

“Local artists have a unique stance in making knowledge accessible to their community. I hope to use my knowledge in remediation to contribute to this community of artists and use plants as my medium,” he said.

Credit: Photo: Carmen Vasquez photo

While plants are David’s medium education is an equal passion. For the past three years, David has explored the link between high school education and the ways landscape architecture can be made more accessible.

“I think landscape architecture is unique in the respect that there is a distinct impact that can be made on a local level; the ways professionals examine the relationships they are building with not only the client, but the places their designs will impact across different scales, plays a very important part in approaching concerns about culture, equity, and society,” de la Cruz said.

In the coming years David plans to teach in an urban high school and pursue a Ph.D. He’s seen the power of change through opportunity, engagement and participation and wants to work with youth to help shape curriculum about the environments they come from. David explains that the process can be a powerful experience for students when they’re brought into conceptualizing and executing the design process, learning the impact of local intervention to regional issues such as housing affordability. He believes opportunities for higher-level thinking can help students make decisions about their future, their education, careers, and influence on local communities.

“An important part of my focus with youth and education, is to find ways to sustain projects for generations. Moving into education, and specifically using this National Olmsted Fellowship to work with youth demonstrates my commitment to make landscape architecture legible to more youth in urban communities as a response to the legacies of environmental racism and injustices,” de la Cruz said.

The Man Who Gave Us the Fremont Troll

Who was it that possessed the perverse audacity to look at a dark patch of dirt under the Aurora Bridge and imagine a peculiar form of immortality?

It is, of course, the world famous Fremont Troll, a colossus of engineering and vision and quirky, twisted madness.

A tourist stands atop concrete fingers and says, “I just wonder what the real meaning behind it is?”

A young woman stands beneath the monstrous shoulder of the beast and marvels, “It’s so cool to see all the details that are actually happening. The hair, the eyes, it’s really cool.”

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University of Washington, City of Tacoma announce Livable City Year partnership for 2017-2018

The University of Washington’s Livable City Year (LCY) program has selected the City of Tacoma as the program’s community partner for the 2017-2018 academic year. This partnership establishes a yearlong relationship connecting students and faculty with city staff working on projects that advance goals outlined in its One Tacoma: Comprehensive Plan and Tacoma2025 strategic visioning framework.

“As Tacoma continues to evolve and attract more residents, we want to ensure that this growth is sustainable and our entire community benefits,” said Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. “We are pleased to be selected as a University of Washington Livable City Year partner and we look forward to a partnership that will achieve realistic, specific and measurable goals to address education, employment, equity and accountability. We are particularly excited about the opportunity to strengthen our ties with UW’s Tacoma campus.”

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Amazon builds a tree-filled crystal jungle in downtown Seattle

Americans tend to think of brown shipping boxes when it comes to Amazon. But in Seattle, the company is increasingly known as a real-estate owner. That’s especially true downtown, where Amazon employs more than 24,000 — some of whom will soon hold meetings and take lunch breaks inside three gigantic glass spheres that add a geodesic flare to the urban grid.

The tallest of the glass and metal Spheres rises 90 feet and is more than 130 feet in diameter, with two smaller spheres to each side. In a city that gets 152 days of rain a year, they will provide a warm, dry, plant-filled space for meetings, meals and mingling for up to 800 Amazon employees at a time.

“It’s kind of fantastic,” said Thaisa Way, an urban landscape historian at the University of Washington in Seattle.

While time will tell, she thinks it could end up being an iconic building in the region, with those standing outside feeling like they’re looking out, not in.

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