We talked with ZGF Sustainability Lead and UW alumni Marty Brennan to discuss his pathway into architecture and the innovative work emerging from the Applied Research Consortium.
As more cities search for explanations and solutions to homelessness, leaders look to data. Gregg Colburn, assistant professor of real estate, is quoted. | Los Angeles Times
Architecture graduate students provide options for dense and diverse housing. | The Urbanist
New research from the University of Washington, published June 2 in Food Policy, addressed equity issues surrounding sweetened beverage taxes by examining the economic equity impacts of sweetened beverage taxes in three cities: Seattle, San Francisco and Philadelphia. Philip Hurvitz, affiliate associate professor of urban design and planning is a co-author. | UW News
As a visiting scholar in the Department of Urban Design and Planning, Chung Ho Kim has three goals: reconnect, research, and refresh.
The history of American Unitarian church architecture is one that’s lesser-known. With this in mind, Ann Marie Borys, associate professor of architecture, wanted to provide context for two extremely highly regarded Unitarian projects of the 20th century that had only been written about independently. Her new book explores how they fit into the broader scope of Unitarian churches.
“American Unitarian Churches: Architecture of a Democratic Religion” explores Unitarian church design and the progressive ideals shown through them — ideals that were central to the founding of the United States. By situating Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple and Louis Kahn’s First Unitarian Church of Rochester in their full context, Borys writes about the interconnectedness of American democracy and American architecture.
We asked Borys about the book.
Why did you want to write this book?
I initiated the research in an effort to provide context for two extremely highly regarded architectural projects of the 20th century. Each one had been written about independently with regard to its place in the architect’s creative oeuvre and its “moment” in American architecture. And they had sometimes been discussed in relation to each other (though separated by 50 years) because they were both Unitarian churches. But there was very little written about how they fit into the broader scope of Unitarian churches.
I soon discovered that there were quite a lot of Unitarian churches from both the 19th and 20th centuries that were also architecturally significant. So the book that emerged became a narrative of Unitarian church design as a central factor in the development of American architecture itself.
Why has this contribution not been evident in narratives of American architectural history previously? Why is it important to bring this to light?
A simplistic explanation is that architectural history was first developed as a chronology of styles, and then a narrative of architect-heros. It was in the later part of the 20th century that larger social and cultural patterns began to be studied. By then, Unitarianism represented a very small portion of the population, and it was not widely understood to have historical roots connected with those of the country itself.
It is important partly because there are some misconceptions about the two buildings that prompted my research—Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple, and Louis Kahn’s First Unitarian Church of Rochester. But more broadly speaking, it is important because it adds a significant body of work to an issue of theoretical importance: What is an ‘architecture of democracy’?
What’s the connection between faith and architecture?
This is a trick question with respect to Unitarian churches. Most faiths build churches that support specific rituals spatially, that express beliefs symbolically, and that aspire to place the church-goers in some relation to the divine. Unitarianism is unusual because it has never had rituals, and in the 20th century, the question of religious belief was transferred from clergy to the individuals. So there can be a wide variety of beliefs in any congregation. This makes the design of a memorable architectural space more difficult.
What elements of Unitarian spirituality are expressed through the architecture of its churches?
I found three things to be in the foreground of Unitarian churches: awareness of nature and with that, the interconnectedness of all things; respect for the individual coupled with responsibility for others; and the necessity for individuals to share knowledge and ideas in a community.
How are the ideals/values of Unitarianism shown through the design of their buildings/spaces?
The awareness of nature and natural processes is evident either directly through generous views promoting connection between the sanctuary and surrounding gardens or natural features or it is present through daylight and through the use of natural materials. Respect for the individual and for individual choice is evident in the way that doors into the sanctuary are located as one choice among others, and in the non-hierarchical arrangement of space in the sanctuary. The necessity to share ideas for the enrichment of all is present in the provision of ample social spaces in addition to a space for worship.
The combination of these features creates an architecture of democracy.
What do you hope readers take away from this book?
I hope that readers will understand that Unitarianism was a mainstream denomination in America throughout the 19th century, and that many of our country’s progressive social and cultural advancements were led by Unitarians. I hope that they will be able to appreciate how Unitarianism remains true to its original philosophies and values–values which were formed along with and were practically identical to the American democratic ideals articulated by the founding documents of this country. I hope they will understand that Unitarianism is a democratic religion, and that its architecture is an expression of authentically American ideals.
Dean Cheng was one of the keynote speakers at this year’s AIA Conference. See what she had to say about the role of an architect during this unique moment in time.
Architecture 508 Graduate Research Studio students talked about their ideas and solutions to add more housing in Seattle — a well-timed discussion as Seattle is updating its comprehensive plan. | KUOW
Our EDIFY event series was established in spring 2022 by the CBE Diversity Council as a way to explore issues around equity, diversity and inclusion in the built environment, through the lens of creative expression. Our inaugural event for the CBE community was focused on the medium of short films, featuring a collection centered on the topic of equity, diversity and inclusion in the built environments. The films were selected to reflect on the theme: “Acknowledging Land: Past, Present, and Future”. Faculty, staff and students gathered for an evening to screen the shorts together and inspire conversation.
EDIFY was launched and organized by CBE staff members Claudine Manio and Nancy Dragun, in collaboration with UW Cinema & Media Studies lecturer Warren Etheredge. A veteran film producer and festival programmer, Etheredge … something from Warren about why these films were chosen
Films shown included the following:
(1:58) Baroness von Sketch
THE DUWAMISH, PEOPLE OF THE INSIDE
(6:03) Seattle Channel
THE FUTURE OF CITIES: INEQUALITY
(2:28) Hong Kong University Faculty of Architecture
SEGREGATED BY DESIGN
(17:42) Mark Lopez
THE FUTURE OF CITIES: INFORMAL
(3:00) Hong Kong University Faculty of Architecture
A BROKEN HOUSE
(20:44) Jimmy Goldblum
POPCOURTS AT CHICAGO
(3:00) Brodie Kerst / AIA Film Challenge 2021
(6:40) Evan Mather
YOUTH ACHIEVEMENT CENTER: FOR YOUTH BY YOUTH
(2:57) Lahmi Kim / AIA Film Challenge 2021
PILI KA MO’O
(13:46) Justyn Ah Chong
Programming was inspired by this question: the University of Washington has a land acknowledgement, but why is land acknowledgement important?
Throughout history, land has been a symbol of power and wealth, oftentimes acquired and developed by displacing those without either. The history, sense of place, and rich culture that took generations to build are dishonored and erased. The UW Land Acknowledgement brings awareness to the longstanding history of the indigenous people of the land on which our university sits. However, land acknowledgement should not exist in the past tense. It is an ongoing process – continuing today and into the future within our city and cities around the world.
Through the series of short films we drew connections between a variety of narratives about land “values”- in our country and abroad. From the stage manager who just wants to get on with the show, to the historian who animates redlining, to the developer reimagining suburban LA, to the Syrian architect tirelessly recreating home, this collection of short films encourages us to reconsider whose land we live on and how we all might become better stewards and better neighbors. Each film serves as a case study which invites us to reflect on the historical, cultural, political, and ecological impacts on land.
Congratulations to this year’s graduates and also to those from 2020 and 2021! Even with all of the changes that the past two years have brought us, our community has continued to be resilient, creative, passionate, and kind. Here’s what we’re celebrating and looking forward to.
Looking forward to 2022-2023, the second year of implementing the CBE strategic framework, one of our major projects will be to look at how our college’s virtual and physical spaces and places support our goals.
Dear CBE Community,
Congratulations on completing the 2022 academic year! Even with all of the changes that the past two years have brought us, our community has continued to be resilient, creative, passionate, and kind. These graduates are where they are today not only because of their hard work but because of the support that you have provided to them.
A few points of celebration for our community this year:
We had three students named to the 2020 Husky 100 awards and two students named to the 2021 and 2022 Husky 100 awards.
We completed a first-ever cohort hire, bringing on 6 new faculty – which is an important part of our strategic framework to grow our capacity for collaborative interdisciplinary work with the goal of advancing climate solutions.
And we continued to impact the broader community through work like the Nehemiah studio, work with the Duwamish Longhouse, and coastal communities facing rising sea levels.
CBE graduates are well prepared to continue the high caliber of work that genuinely connects their skills to meet community needs and develop innovative solutions to society’s grand challenges. We are proud to send you out to do good things as individuals and as a collective.
I also want to take a moment to recognize and congratulate all of the incredible faculty and staff at our college. Announced during our CBE graduation celebration, this year’s award recipients have distinguished themselves beyond all expectations. These are highly competitive awards with many worthy nominations.
After you read about our Faculty and Staff award winners, I invite you to click the link below to view the photos taken and watch our CBE graduation celebration with guest speaker, Dr. Anu Taranath.
John and Rosalind Jacobi Family Endowed Dean
College of Built Environments
Faculty and Staff Awards
This award is nominated and decided by students in the College of Built Environments. The Lionel “Spike” Pries Award For Teaching Excellence recognizes outstanding teaching by faculty within the College during the academic year.
Kimo is recognized for being an inspiring, knowledgeable, and respectful professor who encourages his students to strive for their best — seeing the potential each student has and pushing them to be better.
The Outstanding Faculty Award recognizes a full-time faculty member who has made most notable contributions in their field or the community in research and/or service, to their department or college, or to students through teaching and/or service during the past academic year.
Gundula is commended for her internationally recognized interdisciplinary research, mentoring and supervising students, advocating for interdisciplinary research in architecture and the built environment, cross-college collaborations, and her engagement in our college community.
The Outstanding Part-Time Teaching Award goes to a part-time faculty member who has made the most notable contributions as a teacher during this academic year. The award recognizes the significant contributions made by part-time faculty members in teaching and acknowledges that the reputation of the college depends on the quality of the educational experience provided by them.
Steve is known for putting interest, care, and time into each student’s work and projects. He gives extra hours of his time all with a smile on his face to support students. He is an incredibly knowledgeable, helpful, and enthusiastic member of CBE who is highly regarded among students and faculty.
The Distinguished Staff Award is intended to recognize the recipient’s extraordinary contributions to the College in the past academic year. The nominee should contribute to a positive collegial environment for the benefit of faculty, staff, and students, with a focus on promoting unity and communication as well as demonstrating an extraordinary level of commitment, leadership, and cooperation.
Jamilah has been a steadfast leader and accountable team player since day one at the College of Built Environments. During her two years with the college, everyone who has had the privilege of working alongside Jamilah knows that she can be counted on as an exemplary collaborator who delivers excellent work to achieve shared goals.
In January 2021, the College of Built Environments launched its new Inspire Fund to “inspire” CBE research activities that are often underfunded, but for which a relatively small amount of support can be transformative. The fund aims to support research where arts and humanities disciplines are centered, and community partners are engaged in substantive ways.
It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Professor and Former Dean, Robert Mugerauer, on May 8, 2022. Dr. Bob believed in his students’ ability to make the world a better place. His passion and commitment to equity and justice lives on in those he taught and worked with.
His contributions and his presence will be greatly missed.
On May 20th, students hosted the virtual 2022 annual research symposium. The symposium explored the role of technology in our past, present, and future urban environments and how big data, smart cities, and other emerging technologies contribute to a sustainable and equitable world.
Gregg Colburn, assistant professor of real estate, provides answers to frequently asked questions about housing and homelessness. | The Atlantic
This year’s lectures discussed the ways in which the environmental challenges attributed to the Anthropocene (climate change, pandemics, resource inequality, etc) change our perspectives on temporality and, particularly in the realm of design thinking, ‘futurity’. Watch the recordings.
Gregg Colburn, assistant professor of real estate discusses his book and the city’s plan to end homelessness. | King 5
Justin Roberts, MLA ’22, describes his journey abroad exploring the powerful potential of using biochar in landscape design.
I am excited to share that Steven Bourassa will take on the role of Chair of the Runstad Department of Real Estate. For the past 7 years, he has been Chair of the Department of Urban Design and Planning at Florida Atlantic University, starting August 8, 2022, he will join our college as department Chair and Jon and Judith Runstad Endowed Professor.
Throughout his career, he has led programs that combine real estate development, housing, and planning, at institutions in the US, Australia, and New Zealand. In addition to leading the department, Steven will build on and elevate the Runstad Department’s research strengths in housing prices and tenure, land tenure, and property taxes. His most recent work includes collaboration with finance and planning scholars on the use of big data in housing value. I am confident that Steven’s expertise and leadership will move the department toward even greater success in the years ahead.
I want to thank the search committee for their excellent work in bringing such a strong slate of candidates and hosting robust conversations on the leadership needs of the department. I would like to thank Professor Sofia Dermisi for her strong leadership of the department faculty as Acting Chair over the past year. Finally, I appreciate the energy and engagement of the students and the Runstad Advisory Board.
I think the future is bright and I look forward to seeing how the department’s next phases unfold.
John and Rosalind Jacobi Family Endowed Dean
College of Built Environments