Recent Posts


2012 Archive

One of our Directors, Matt Roewe, gave a presentation on December 3rd 2012 to the Seattle City Council PLUS Committee on the proposed South Lake Union Rezone Legislation. The 70 page slide show is full of graphics and data that illustrate what the proposed heights will look like within South Lake Union, as well as in comparison to the surrounding neighborhoods.

An interesting and informative dialogue transpired with eight of the city council members sitting at the table. To watch the presentation and discussion on Seattle Channel, click here. South Lake Union discussion starts at the 66th minute.

Or you can go through his presentation embedded below. Click the icon in the bottom right corner to view it in full screen, presentation format, or click the title below to open in a new window.

South Lake Union Rezone Legislation

Monday News Roundup

Dec 03, 2012

Happy December! Below you’ll find a round-up of links to some of the more eye-catching articles we found in the last bit of November:

Photo credit: Inhabitat (Shipping container photo from Shutterstock)

UK Plans to Retrofit Shipping Containers from Amsterdam Into Housing to Help Fight Homelessness (Inhabitat) Shipping containers offer a surprisingly versatile foundation for small-scale, sturdy homes – they’re readily available, relatively inexpensive, and easy to retrofit. Now the UK is planning to capitalize on cargotecture by transforming recycled shipping containers from Amsterdam into housing to help fight homelessness.

A Genius Dad Made a Flying Quadrocopter to Walk His Kid to the Bus Stop (Gizmodo) A genius dad invented something to make dad life easier: a flying, camera-equipped quadrocopter that could follow his kids to the school bus stop.

Behold, the Single Family Skyscraper (The Atlantic Cities) Like a downsized multifamily residence, Dutch architect Hans van Heeswijk’s concept for a minimalist prefab dwelling reimagines the single-family home as a compact tower-villa. Each floor is dedicated to a specific activity (eating, sleeping, lounging, working), and levels can be added or subtracted to accommodate more or fewer functions.

Artist Recycles 65,000 CDs as Shiny, Floating “Water Lilies” (TreeHugger) British artist Bruce Munro’s “Waterlilies”– done for Longwoods Garden in Pennsylvania — was Munro’s first work in the US. Comprising of 100 6-ft foam lilies and 100 8-ft foam lilies topped with 65,000 recycled CDs, the waterborne artworks are giant lightcatchers meant to catch and reflect patterns of light.

Your Office …

The Evergreen Line is designed as an 11km rapid transit line in Metro Vancouver. It seamlessly connects the municipalities of Burnaby, Coquitlam, and Port Moody through six stations to the region’s successful SkyTrain system, local bus service, and the West Coast Express commuter rail.

Here’s a bit of insight into VIA’s station design process:

Transit Planning Influences


Evergreen Line Station Alignment

Lougheed Town Centre Station: Engage the Existing

Platform canopy and vertical circulation addition designed to respect and enhance existing station architecture

Burquitlam Station: Development Interface

Curving walls and generous canopies lead patrons from bus stops to entrance portals – asymmetrical roof forms respond to street conditions, existing retail malls, future development and views

Port Moody Station: Transit Connector

Entrance locations and sweeping roof forms provide strong visual clues to aid patron understanding of the pedestrian circulation system inside the intermodal station

Ioco Station: Establishing a Hidden Presence

Distinctive curved facades and bookend roof forms provide strong visual recognition of the dual entrances of this otherwise below grade station

Coquitlam Central Station: Protection from the Elements

Roof and facade elements enhance the experience through environmentally sensitive design

Douglas College Station: Community Connection

Dual entrances respond to current pedestrian crossings serving City Hall, Douglas College and future connection to Cultural Center


Thriving, Vibrant Communities

Transit stations are hubs for transportation, but become truly integral to the urban fabric when they form community hubs. This can be achieved by striving to build upon a community’s existing social and cultural connections, rather than focusing solely upon the physical connectedness of a neighbourhood.

Monday News Roundup

Nov 19, 2012

Happy pre-Thanksgiving Monday, everyone! Below are just a few of the most interesting finds from the last couple weeks–

The Architectural Spectacle That Is Munich’s Metro (The Atlantic Cities) The Munich metro system, known as the U-Bahn, began running in 1971 in advance of the ’72 Olympics. Over the years, its stations have evolved from a style that might be called simplistic and functional into one better described as curvaceous and kaleidoscopic.

Controversial Frank Lloyd Wright-Designed Island For Sale (ArchDaily) Petre Island (sometimes called Petra Island) is an 11-acre, heart-shaped island 47 miles from Manhattan. While Wright hand-picked the site himself in 1949, and drew up plans for a 5,000 square foot ”dream house” the following year, budget concerns forced him to scale down his vision, resulting in the construction of a smaller guest cottage.

Saving Seattle’s Neighborhood Authenticity Through Better Buildings (The Atlantic Cities) Writer James Howard Kunstler gives his thoughts on how ugly buildings are degrading American life in a new documentary pondering the fate of Seattle’s South Lake Union, a developing waterside area that’s home to sloops and schooners, biomedical facilities and Amazon’s sprawling campus.

Can cities help you forget your troubles? C’mon, get happy! (Better! Cities & Towns) The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index tracks life evaluation, physical health, emotional health, healthy behavior, work environment, and basic access. Once our basic needs are provided for, increased wealth does not increase our happiness appreciably, nor does unemployment effect us as much as we might think. Instead, happiness is due …

by Katherine Idziorek, Urban Designer, VIA Architecture

Our most recent VIAVOX event, Chandigarh 2.0: A Discussion on Urbanization + Growth inthe Global and Local Context took place last month at Zeitgeist Coffee in Seattle. 

The VIAVOX is a tradition that supports our firm culture of building ideas and seeking to advance dialogue about design beyond the scope of our projects. The idea of the event is to provoke conversation about design and to give a voice to current issues affecting the practice of architecture and urban planning. Past VIAVOXes have focused on topics such as affordable housing partnerships, connected senior urbanism, and the renewal of neglected cities.

At our October event, VIA hosted Professor Vikram Prakash from the University of Washington College of Built Environments, who presented his ongoing work on globalization and urbanization in Chandigarh, India and facilitated a discussion focused on recognizing common issues faced by Seattle and Chandigarh as well as exploring strategies for dealing with rapid growth in a mid-sized city. Colleagues from our Vancouver office as well as area design practitioners and students from the University of Washington joined us in conversation.

Dr. Prakash teaches in the Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design and Planning programs at UW and is Director of the Chandigarh Urban Lab, a multi-year project and collaboration with the Chandigarh College of Architecture that is dedicated to researching small and mid-size urbanism in globalizing India. The author of several books on non-Western architecture, modernism and culture theory, Dr. Prakash …

A VIA-designed project, Black Rock Oceanfront Resort in beautiful Ucluelet, BC, has won a Readers’ Choice Award from Condé Nast Traveler. You can view the full project detail on our website by clicking here.

Black Rock Oceanfront Resort is situated on a rock promontory in Ucluelet, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, with 8.5 acres of rainforest and 1,300 feet of waterfront. The resort consists of 134 whole ownership units comprising 72 suites in the main lodge and 62 suites in the 14 oceanfront cottages scattered throughout the site, all of which sold out within four hours in August 2005.

Click here to view the Award’s highlight page on!


Good afternoon VIA Blog readers!

As you may have read on our (now) old blog, we at VIA have undergone a bit of a face-lift,  and have moved our blog here– to our new and improved

This move will allow our blog followers to also experience, directly through the blog sidebar, a bit more of what VIA Architecture has to offer. We will still be providing the same urban design, planning, architecture, local interest, and design-related content (and more!)– but with a new face.

Thank you all for joining us here at, and stay tuned for more VIA Blog content!



the VIA Team


Monday News Round Up

Oct 22, 2012

Happy brisk fall Monday, everyone!

Here are just a few of the interesting articles we found last week:

Teen Finishes 130 Sq. Ft. Mortgage-Free Home (Treehugger) Austin Hay has trimmed his wardrobe down to the bare minimum, he’s reclaimed materials from the salvage yard and his own bedroom, and he’s built the entirety of this 130 square foot home for $12,000 while creating only three trash cans full of waste.

Vancouver Covers Its Sidewalks With Giant Pillows (The Atlantic Cities) Commissioned by the City of Vancouver, “Pop Rocks” is an architectural installation that aims to transform the city’s downtown area using repurposed industrial materials.

To Encourage Biking, Cities Lose the Helmets (The New York Times) In the United States the notion that bike helmets promote health and safety by preventing head injuries is taken as pretty near God’s truth. Un-helmeted cyclists are regarded as irresponsible, like people who smoke. Cities are aggressive in helmet promotion. But many European health experts have taken a very different view.

Car Parks as Icons (Price Tags) While Vancouver is busily tearing down parkades (parking structures or garages, as others call them), other cities see them as architectural opportunities.

The Farmery is a Farm and Market Set in Four Recycled Shipping Containers in North Carolina (Inhabitat) The Farmery is comprised of four shipping containers that are each outfitted with a gourmet mushroom growing system on the inside and growing panels on the outside walls where small crops are grown. The system saves space, energy, and time, …

The Zen of Affordable Housing

Housing affordability is a critical ingredient of sustainable development in cities, but also one of the most vexing challenges. Not surprisingly, it’s also an issue that often gets tangled up in contention and misunderstanding.

If we hope to accommodate growth in a sustainable fashion by creating dense, walkable, transit-rich urban centers that also have economic diversity, it seems we could all use a little Zen-like focus and clarity on what we’re dealing with. And so I invite the reader to meditate on the following wonky koans…

click here to keep reading at CityTank

Please join us… Chandigarh 2.0: A Discussion on Urbanization + Growth in the Global and Local Context speaker: Prof. Vikram Prakash University of Washington College of Built Environments when: Thursday, October 25th 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm where: Zeitgeist Coffee 171 S. Jackson St. Seattle, WA 98101

While massive urbanization is broadly accepted as one of the grand challenges of our times, few realize that most of that urban growth, according to the UN World Urbanization Prospects, will take place not in the megacities of the world like Mumbai or New York, but in the vast numbers of small and mid-sized towns of fast growing nations. Prof. Vikram Prakash of UW College of Built Environments, has been taking studios to Chandigarh, India for the last few years to study how this iconic modernist city is responding to the pressures of globalization. As one of India’s fastest growing mid-sized cities (population 1.8 million), Chandigarh today is facing development challenges – managing growth, transit, sustainable development – of the kinds that we are very familiar with in Seattle. Of comparable size, Seattle and Chandigarh, are kindred ‘sister’ cities of the future that potentially have much to offer, and learn from, each other.

Join VIA Architecture for VIAVOX: Chandigarh 2.0 where we will discuss the possibilities of an urban dialogue across Seattle and Chandigarh, with a presentation by Dr. Prakash followed by open discussion.

Please RSVP to Racheal Bellinger by 10/22 to