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2012 Archive

Monday News Roundup

Jan 23, 2012

Catch up on last week’s top headlines!

Top 10 States for LEED Green Buildings (Sustainable Cities)

USGBC released the top 10 states with the most LEED-certified building square footage per capita. D.C leads the nation while WA State comes in at #5. 

The Ten Best Preservation Projects in the Last Five Years (Planetizen)

Featuring buildings from across the country, and one outside the U.S., Nyren lists the top projects that brought back “valuable community resources from decline and neglect.”

Climate Action Planning Is Good Community Planning (Sustainable Cities) 

Why should a local community create and implement a comprehensive policy to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change?

More walkable urban development is good. But is it good enough? (Sustainable Cities) 

Kaid Benfield discusses density: “We should be advocating density that appeals to more people, that we and future generations can be proud of.” Decapitating LA’s Skyline (Planetizen)

Ever wonder why LA’s skyline is so bland? Apparently it was planned that way…

Unique Urban Experiment (Swissmiss)  Lock a bike to a post. Take a picture daily for 1 year. This is what happens…

Basic House (Inhabitat)

Basic House Is a Golden Self-Inflating Home That Fits in Your Pocket!

Preparing Cities for Seniors (Sustainable Cities)

The World Health Organization has recognized the need for cities to prepare for an ageing population and in 2010 created the Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities. Inner City Abandonment, In Photos (Planetizen)

David Schalliol’s photographs of abandoned places around the country are intended to be testaments to various social forces that have broken down urban places in recent …

Transforming Issaquah

Jan 19, 2012
Transforming Issaquah

by Katherine Howe, Urban Planner, VIA Architecture Image Credit: VIA Architecture

After working on the Rowley Properties Development Agreement and Planned Action EIS for two years, this project was adopted at the Issaquah City Council in December 2011. At the public meetings over 50 community members testified in favor, many citing the need for Issaquah to grow “differently” and their desire to see vibrant downtown places that are pedestrian friendly and have both everyday services and residential housing. Residents agreed with the overall Vision, that these nearly 80 acres of commercial land adjacent to the Sound Transit Park and Ride, I-90 and SR900 could be improved and transformed into two new mixed-use neighborhoods. The Development Agreement brings with it change, this area may eventually accommodate 4.4 million square feet of space, both in residential and commercial use.

Throughout this process, VIA’s team participated in many local workshops and advisory groups to help figure out how the transformation of a single use, suburban strip might be implemented, as well as the obstacles along the way. Trade-offs discussed included how to achieve economic feasibility for higher density projects, competing desires for new public infrastructure improvements, and opportunities for sustainability initiatives and green building. As a Catalyst Project for the Central Issaquah Sub Area Plan, we partnered directly with the City’s Major Development Review Team to reconsider policies on the City books, many of which were biased towards new green field developments. Re-aligning policies to support incremental infill redevelopment was a challenge and entailed a long negotiation …

Tuesday News Roundup

Jan 17, 2012

After a long and frigid weekend in the Northwest, let’s warm up a bit with a roundup of the latest headlines and hottest news in architecture, sustainability + design!

Hyper-Realistic Paintings (Colossal) It’s hard to believe these hyper-realistic paintings aren’t actually high resolution photographs…

Toy or Tool: Urban Planning as Community Board Game (Planetizen) Profile of a project by Urban Planner James Rojas, who has constructed an 80-square-foot scale model of Long Beach that residents and business owners can tinker with to illustrate their own vision of the city.

Buenos Aires for Design Addicts (Apartment Therapy) BA is not only bursting with design inspiration, it offers up restaurants, furniture stores, and fashion boutiques that rival many in New York (the whole city felt like a fusion of NYC, Paris, Madrid, and Rome).

How To Retrofit The Suburbs to Increase Walking (Planetizen) Researchers look at the largely suburban South Bay area of Los Angeles to offer ways to retrofit auto-oriented suburbs for more pedestrian travel.

Composing the Urbanist Calendar (Sustainable Cities) The last week of the year is typically reserved for retrospective, and “best of” assessments. Yet, it can also be a time of hope, resolution, and prediction—an interlude of oracles and dreams.The Joy of Books (Swissmiss) Bookstore owners Sean & Lisa Blonder Ohlenkamp decide to take it to the next level spending many sleepless nights moving, stacking, and animating books at Type bookstore in Toronto.

A Five Minute Trip Around the World (Colossal) With a camera in hand, artist Ken Liem embarked on an …

VIA Architecture is a strategic architectural and planning firm with offices in Seattle WA and Vancouver BC. We are a studio based practice leading a variety of local projects including transit systems design, mixed-use infill architecture, community plans and urban sustainability strategies. We are currently seeking candidates to fill four positions in our Seattle office:

  1. Project Manager
  2. Technical Architect
  3. Administrative Assistant
  4. Marketing Coordinator

1. Project Manager:

This person will work within our multidisciplinary team to provide management and leadership on high-rise residential, commercial and public transit projects.

Experience Requirements

  • Registered architect with 6 to 10 years of project management experience
  • LEED AP preferred

Key Skills

  • Dedicated team player, excellent communicator, possessing demonstrated skill at management of technically complex projects.
  • Strong client relations experience and interest in business development.
  • Experience with project controls on complex building types, including scope, schedule and budget development, change management, tracking and reporting.
  • Passion for high quality design and sustainable design. Experience with sustainable building rating systems an asset.
  • Thorough familiarity with the technical considerations involved in coordinating and executing high-rise residential, commercial, and public transit building types.
  • Strong experience in the management of documentation created in Revit 3D Building Information Modeling and AutoCAD. Fluency with production in these programs and other drawing programs such as Google Sketchup an asset.
  • Skill in the management and coordination of project documentation and preparation of graphic presentation material.
  • Strong experience in the management of collaborative design disciplines, including integrated project delivery experience.

2. Technical Architect:

This person will perform a key role within complex project documentation teams to lead development of design concepts through technical execution.

Experience Requirements

  • Architect with 10 …

by Katherine Howe, Urban Planner, VIA Architecture

Transform, a non-profit advocacy group in the Bay Area recently developed the GreenTRIP program. This is pretty interesting stuff for those of us who practice smart growth, because most everything in an infill development – a project’s design, feasibility and use can revolve around the amount, placement and cost of parking.

Cities have codes that regulate how much off-street parking a developer must build. Out of date, and often based on suburban standards set to the highest possible usage, these codes are at best, a blunt instrument. They can overestimate the amount of parking needed, and ultimately encourage people to drive by effectively subsidizing the cost related to storing your vehicle for free. This of course is not new information, much ink has certainly been spilled in the discussion of the high cost of free parking. After multiple decades of this approach, many communities from Issaquah to Bothell are looking around to realize that they now have 50% -75% of their existing developed commercial land area in one kind of use, surface parking.

The off-street parking cycle is hard to break because it requires a paradigm shift, switching our framework from accomodating personal mobility via cars to other modes, compelling a retrofit of the land uses already in place.

To do so requires a headlong push in the other direction. It’s too expensive to go half way, i.e. to keep on building lots of parking at suburban rates, but in structure or underground. …

Monday News Roundup

Jan 09, 2012

Happy Monday morning! Peruse the links below for the latest in architecture, art, and design!

The City of the Future (Switchboard) This year, TED’s annual award went to not an individual but to the city of the future… in which more than ten billion people on planet Earth must somehow live sustainably. 

A little game that shows you how public transportation works… (Wikispaces) 

The goal of the Bus Meister game and the Public Transport Priority Best Practices wiki is to help educate non professionals about the importance of public transport priority.  What happens when you give kids thousands of stickers? (PoppyTalk) Artist Yayoi Kusama gave children thousands of colored dot stickers as an invitation to collorabate in the transformation of her latest interactive installation.

Super Low-Impact Straw Bale Cafe (Inhabitat)

A perfect example of the trend of straw bale building, which is rapidly making a name for itself as a viable construction method…

2011: A Year That Revealed The Power of Place (Sustainable Cities Collective)

This week, TIME magazine named The Protester its Person of the Year. He would have never earned that distinction had he not been so visible, had he protested from home.

The new economy: work closer, live smaller, connect better (Switchboard)

The Urban Land Institute’s latest forecast for the real estate industry has lots of hopeful news for the environment; perhaps also some sobering news for the economy. 

How coffee and cycling helped shape our Greenways 

In order to create a web of routes within walking distance of every resident – Tilo Driessen mapped all the places in the …