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2013 Archive

Today was the grand opening for Joseph Arnold Lofts, affectionately called The Joe, or JOLO.  Located just a few blocks from the waterfront and the Olympic Sculpture Park, Joseph Arnold Lofts is a 13-story multi-family apartment building with great views and even better amenities. Residential units are designed to feel like lofts, with wide open floor plans and bedroom walls that don’t quite reach the ceiling.

The VIA & SCOX Architect Team with Mark Schuster

With 132 apartment units, JOLO is the first Green Globe certified residential high-rise in downtown Seattle – recently receiving three out of four green globes for sustainable design elements. Some of the other interesting features of the building and our work on it include:

  • Maximizes sites value and establishes its own identify within the neighborhood with pre-cast concrete on the exterior
  • Extensive green roof with amenity spaces up high to take advantage of surrounding views
  • Use of a variable refrigerant HVAC system to minimize energy use
  • Water and energy conversation measures
  • First architects to have to respond to changes in the fire code and how they apply to elevators
  • Modular approach to kitchen and bathroom design, which provides for flexibility and differentiation between unit types
  • Straight-forward industrial aesthetic of the building, which creates exposed systems and enhanced access for maintenance
  • Phase permitting to allow for early start of excavation

Please enjoy this brief photo tour of The Joe:

Joseph Arnold Lofts

Concrete Entry Hall

Generous Amenity Space

Generous Amenity Space with Kitchen

Rooftop Deck with Beautiful Puget Sound Views

Comfortable Lobby …

This year, both our VIA Seattle and Vancouver offices celebrated PARK(ing) Day – an annual worldwide event that that focuses on elevating the use of urban public space by transforming metered parking spaces into public parklets.

















The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space and to generate critical debate about the nature and role of streets in the public realm. In addition to being a fun community event, PARK(ing) Day challenges existing ideas about the use of public urban space and empowers community groups and other participants to help redefine space to reflect local needs and values.

For us at VIA, PARK(ing) Day is a great excuse to add to this dialogue and to work toward our goal of creating quality urban spaces. For this year’s event, the VIA team volunteered time to design and set up two parklets in front of our Seattle and Vancouver offices in order to create great (albeit temporary) urban spaces and to cultivate a fun and memorable urban experience for participants and passers-by.   Both parklets were focused on the idea of play and included space for social interaction, refuge and respite.  We worked to partner with local businesses and used almost exclusively recycled or reclaimed materials in our parklet designs.










VIA Seattle Parklet (7th Ave & Olive Way)  

The Seattle parklet, a small court for lawn games, was focused on creating a space for play. Located adjacent to …

Join VIA this Friday, September 20th as both of our offices celebrate PARK(ing) Day 2013.

Vancouver Location – 1050 Homer Street

Join VIA Vancouver from 10am – 4pm for games, yoga, and a BBQ.

Seattle Location – corner of 7th Avenue and Olive Way

Join VIA Seattle from 10am – 2pm for a rousing round of bocce.

For a complete map of all Park(ing) Day sites within Seattle, please see:



Providing temporary public open space . . . one parking spot at at time.

PARK(ing) Day is a annual open-source global event where citizens, artists, and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals (operating independently of Rebar but following an established set of guidelines) creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world.

The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat … at least until the meter runs out!

For more information on PARK(ing) Day, please visit

News Roundup

May 28, 2013

Reclaimed Materials Light Show, Brooklyn Water Tower (full article linked below!)

Happy post-Memorial Day Tuesday! Below are just a few of the most interesting and re-Tweeted articles VIA has shared on their Twitter feed over the past couple weeks. Enjoy!

Vancouver’s False Creek Bridges to get some TLC… and better bike lanes (MetroNews.CA) Transit expansion may be caught up in politics, but Vancouver’s plans to get people out of cars and onto bikes and sidewalks are rolling on the three False Creek bridges.

Goodbye, Micro-Apartments: ‘Low Rise High Density’ Presents An Alternative Housing Solution (Architizer) According to the most recent US Census data, this is the first time since before the 1950s that more people are moving into New York City than are moving out—bringing the estimated population to a record high of 8,336,697. Now that is high density. So it is only fitting that we should start directing our focus toward different housing models that accommodate the city’s changing need for space.

Stunning Vertical Horizon Photos (One Design Per Day) The series of French artist Romain Jacquet-Lagreze “vertical horizon” is a photographic journey between buildings of a growing city- Hong Kong.

The Systems That Power the Year’s Most Sustainable Buildings (Gizmodo) Only a decade ago, sustainable building techniques were fairly rare, a fringe culture on the periphery of mainstream architecture. But with Stephen Colbert interviewing radically green architects like Mitchell Joachim and Passive House buildings popping up in New York City, that’s all changing very quickly.

photo credit:

In Celebration of Earth Day, the new Bullitt Center opened in Seattle on Monday, April 22. The new Center will be the greenest commercial building in the world; striving to meet the Living Building Challenge.

We think one of the most interesting things is the relationship the building will have with its tenants.  They will retain ownership of the building; and anticipate encouraging tenants to walk up the stairs instead of using the elevator, among other green suggestions.  Our favorite part is there is no parking— only bike parking.  Public transit, walking, and biking are the most convenient ways to get directly to the Center.  If you have to drive; they have arranged limited shared parking with a nearby temple.

You can read more about the Center by visiting the links above; The Seattle Times Blog has also shared a post with some great photos of the offices and the composting toilet system.


VIA is currently participating in the 8th annual HEADLINES exhibit at the University of Washington’s College of Built Environments. The exhibit displays a preview of unbuilt work, both local and international, providing an overview of the design influence and innovation that northwest practitioners contribute to the region and across the globe.

The HEADLINES exhibit, which represents the work of more than 50 local design firms, highlights projects that are currently “on the boards.” By focusing on projects that are still in design, the exhibit facilitates a dialogue between the region’s professional and academic communities about design concepts and ideas, and it allows the public a glimpse of how the studio process shapes the early stages of a project. Each entry features a “headline,” a word or phrase that describes the project’s principal design concept, and is limited to one display board on which to communicate the essence and primary features of the project.

After spending two weeks on display at the University of Washington, the exhibit will travel to other schools of architecture throughout the Northwest. Past exhibits have been displayed at the Architectural Institute of British Columbia in Vancouver; Washington State University; Montana State University; Portland State University; and the University of Oregon.

The annual HEADLINES exhibit is organized by the Department of Architecture Professionals Advisory Council (PAC). The PAC is made up of local architects and other design professionals as well as members of the UW Department of Architecture. The group bridges the professional …

by Jemae Hoffman, Director at VIA Architecture

Community leaders held a press conference on March 26th at Rainier Beach High school, announcing that they are banding together in an ambitious effort to renovate Rainier Beach High into the greenest high school in the State.

photo credit: Rainier Valley Post

Southeast Seattle parents, community members, the Rainier Beach Foundation, and the Rainier Beach Empowerment Coalition have rallied support from the City of Seattle and Denis Hayes (Bullitt Foundation and Point32) for a consultation on retrofitting Rainier Beach High School as the first LEED Platinum Green school in the State.  VIA has been supporting the Rainier Beach Community in implementing their vision for the light rail station area; laying the groundwork for an Innovation District.

Rainier Beach High School is one of the few schools that were not prioritized for renovation in the recent school levy funding package passed by voters.  That fact upset some Rainier Beach high school students so much that they staged a walkout.  The student organizers were inspirational in their hopes for a better future for their community, and a highlight of the press conference was their Principal giving these students a glowing introduction.  Denis Hayes commented:

“This is the first time I have ever heard a Principal glowingly introduce students who organized a walkout”

Another great quote was from LaCretiah Claytor , with the Rainier Beach Empowerment Coalition and PSTA:

“As James Brown said ‘Don’t give us anything, open the door and we will get it ourselves’”

The high …

Peter Jansen was VIA’s IT wizard for nearly twelve years, based out of our Vancouver office. Peter had been fighting with cancer for almost a year, and we are sad to announce that on Saturday morning he lost that battle. Peter will be sorely missed. He was a special person with a huge and generous spirit, always wanting to help others, and was infinitely patient with all of our questions and problems. VIA will not be the same without him.

Our Seattle office would not exist without Peter.  His knowledge of networking allowed us to envision what a fully connected, cross-border practice would look like, which was no mean feat in the early days of networking.  Everything we have available to do our work, from dual processors to up-to-date software to spam filtering to nightly synching between offices — all of this happens because of Peter’s efforts.  His family joked that he bled VIA blue, and there was a truth to this — his loyalties were fierce, and we were so glad he was on our side.

Peter had a passion for many things.  One of those passions was the music of Led Zeppelin. So the next time you hear a Led Zeppelin song hold a special thought for Peter.

Peter leaves behind his wife Tina and his 7 year old son Taran, and they have a tough road ahead without Peter.  Please keep them in your hearts and thoughts, and be grateful for health and family.

Dr. Wendy Sarkissian goes to a public open house event after speaking to VIA about the need for LOVE in discussions of density.


In March, VIA Architecture’s Vancouver office was delighted to host a presentation by Dr. Wendy Sarkissian. Having just finished series of lectures with Harvard’s Graduate Design School, Wendy stopped into Vancouver on her way back to Australia, where she lives and bases her practice. She talked with our staff and guests about public engagement needed when engaging communities with density and about an underpinning need for love in planning and design processes.  Using the city-building fields’ “psychological” roots to explore the social and emotional dimensions of housing, Wendy enquires on what is missing in higher density housing in North America and Australia and why NIMBYism persists.

Canadian-born Wendy Sarkissian has worked as a social planning consultant and academic in Australia since 1969. The author of eight books on community engagement, planning and housing, she is a Life Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia. Wendy has worked in a great variety of planning contexts, including inner city and suburban community renewal, high-rise housing evaluation and innovative community engagement programs. Her engagement and thinking about the social aspects of housing has roots in her teaching at UC Berkeley in the late 1970s, her forty years of professional practice and her co-authoring (with Clare Cooper Marcus) of a classic book on the social aspects of housing design: Housing as if People Mattered (University of California, 1986).

Nimby …