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by Wolf Saar, Director of Practice, VIA Architecture

Volf Saar (credit: Wolf Saar)

Last July, my father turned 90. In November, he moved into a nursing home. This was not an entirely unexpected event considering that he has Parkinson’s and has seen a slow decline in his mobility and his ability to avoid falls. With my 87 year old mother becoming increasingly frail (and, at the time, approaching a hip replacement) it was determined that the safest and most feasible alternative for dad was a move to a place where he could receive 24 hour skilled care. The time of “aging in place” ended for my dad.

The experience of being the adult child of two aging parents took on a new dimension as we shifted attention from in-home care to institutionalized care. Since my parents live in Burnaby, BC while I live in Seattle and my sister is in Calgary, every interaction is either remote or requires a road trip for me or an airplane ride for my sister. As an architect, I naturally approached the move with a designer’s eye. My focus ranged from pragmatic to sensual in trying to control the process from afar.

As a bit of background, I’ve observed that in British Columbia, subsidized care is generally of a high quality, although there is a decidedly “institutionalized” approach to this care, necessitated by tight budgets and government infrastructure. As my father’s needs exceeded what an assisted living facility could provide, there were few alternatives between the standard regimens of subsidized in-home services and full-on nursing care. My experience in the US has been primarily in the “private pay” realm and, although that exists in BC as well, our family’s resources did not allow us to consider the option. How wonderful it would have been to have greater choice and the opportunity to direct and have more control where my father lives but, in BC, government-subsidized skilled care nursing is provided on a “first bed available” basis.

My sister and I were wary of this policy and worried that he would end up somewhere less than ideal so we felt fortunate when he was admitted to George Derby Centre, an attractive facility that incidentally caters to veterans. Never mind that being Estonian, my father fled the Russians in the early days of the war and eventually settled in Berlin where he experienced WW II from the “other side” as a photographer for a US agency stationed in Berlin; he jokes that many of his fellow residents were dropping bombs on him! Aside from this quirk, the facility appears well-funded, well-maintained, and well-managed (although they seem to have some issues with misplaced laundry)…

Volf Saar (credit: Wolf Saar)

The quality of care and a hallmark arts and crafts facility (my dad has become an emerging weaver!) is offset by a decidedly institutional feel, reinforced by the size of the facility and long corridors clogged with medical carts and other tools needed in the care of the residents. The demands of operational efficiencies were a visible driver in the design. Large common rooms serve as both dining rooms and day rooms and, in their goal to be “flexible” appear to be kept simple in lieu of providing a richness of scale to promote varied interactions and experiences. The proximity of the nurses’ station to these common areas adds to the institutional character. I am consistently dismayed when visiting nursing homes when I see seating around the nurses’ station encouraged. Residents seem attracted by a sense of being where all the action is.

The living units themselves are small dorm-like single-occupancy rooms with a private accessible bathroom. Aside from being small and especially challenging when a wheelchair encounters furniture brought from home, the fact that residents personalize these units helps offset some of the sense that this is a “temporary” situation.

The subsidized system in BC has provided an enormous peace of mind to my parents as they have aged knowing that they will be cared for as health declines and this has indeed been the case. The cost to them is a fraction of what a private-pay alternative would be and the care is good. The down side is that choice is limited. Availability is by geographic region therefore the number of facilities available is limited. The size and type of facility that a resident initially enters is dictated by the available bed policy. Once in a facility, the resident can be put on a waiting list to go elsewhere but that wait can be lengthy and the stress of yet another move can be daunting. Generally, the philosophy and approach to care is standardized. Certainly, a place like George Derby that has put attention to the creation of a home-like experience within a large complex is more successful than others. Creative options like smaller groupings of residents or adult family homes are not evident in the government-provided arena.

My father is well-cared for and has found a few touchstones such as art-making that seem to focus his activities but aside from that, he “exists” day to day and, as is the case with many of his fellow residents, is fairly isolated. As I go through this experience I often wonder how the progressive concepts that the senior living field is engendering elsewhere and in the private-pay world could be transferred to make this time in his life fuller and richer.

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.”

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

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.

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 years.

Self Destruction, By Design (Christian Science Monitor)

Architects hope to protect buildings by letting them rumble instead of crumble. A new design feature would sacrifice itself during an earthquake without harming anything else.

The era when low-cost driving made far-flung living – 30-minute car trips to work, 20 minutes to the mall (plus another 10 for parking) – easy and attractive is fading fast.

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 process between the City and the Property Owner – with both sides listening to the other to ensure that the results would not only achieve the public’s goals, but also remain economically feasible.This Agreement is great news for those of us who are focused on land preservation, climate, sustainability, and public health. By consolidating development here, it shifts demand, minimizing the pressure for future development to extend further into the Cascade foothills. The Rowley Agreement supports the creation of a walkable environment, completing the City’s street network, encouraging more transit use, and places a mix of intensive use adjacent to existing investments in public infrastructure. By moving to a multifamily housing building type, Issaquah also benefits by providing housing opportunities for a full spectrum of people in various life stages and income levels.

In the end, the basic framework for the Development Agreement can be reduced to one major goal: Making it easy for future residents, visitors and employees to walk. By concentrating on walking, many of the other desirable urban design treatments fell into place – such as the amount and placement of future parking, the scale and design of buildings, the accessibility of community public spaces, and the type of street network. To achieve this neighborhood incrementally over 30 years, the Agreement included a lot of flexibility, and is perhaps more “hands off” than other New Urbanist Master Plans. Guidelines and performance standards as opposed to prescriptive codes regulate the urban form. This is an important aspect of the Plan, and our client made it clear that without the capacity to be nimble, and react quickly as the market dictates, all this effort wouldn’t result in much redevelopment.

However, to implement an Agreement in this way takes trust, and discretion from both contracted parties. Hopefully what we learn here can also inform future development and Issaquah will continue to include property owners early on, and as equal partners in their discussions of future planning endeavors.

If you missed it, the Rowley Properties agreement was covered by the Issaquah Press, the DJC and the Seattle Times.

VIA’s Matt Roewe completed the initial vision for the 80 Acre Development, while many at the firm were involved supporting the effort, including assisting with the Development Agreement, Planned Action EIS and community outreach.

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 epic backpacking journey to 17 countries in 343 days taking 6,237 photographs.

5 of the Best Urban Design Blog Posts of 2011 (Sustainable Cities Collective)
How can we enhance the urban form of our cities to make them more sustainable? We’ve featured hundreds of articles on this topic over 2011, and here’s five of the best.

Embracing Green Building Techniques (Planetizen)
Affordable housing advocates find that green building techniques result in higher-quality construction — and often with costs comparable to traditional building techniques.

5 of the Best Transport Blog Posts of 2011 (Sustainable Cities)
The way we get around our cities is a critical factor in their sustainability. Here are 5 of the best blog posts we’ve featured on This Big City in 2011 exploring that very topic…

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 to 15 years of technical experience
  • LEED AP preferred

Key Skills

  • Dedicated team player, excellent communicator, with demonstrated skill at the detailed execution of complex projects, including high-rise residential, commercial and transit buildings.
  • Deep skills in architectural technical detailing, envelope design, and specifications writing.
  • Passion for green building; experience with sustainable building rating systems an asset.
  • Fluency in the use Revit 3D Building Information Modeling and AutoCAD, including both strong computer drafting and information management skills.
  • Skill in the coordination and production of project documentation packages and preparation of graphic presentation material.
  • Strong experience in the technical coordination of collaborative design disciplines, including integrated project delivery experience and 3-dimensional resolution of technical issues.
  • Site review and construction phase service experience an asset.

3. Administrative Assistant

Job Requirements:

  • 2-4 years reception experience in a creative office environment
  • Excellent organizational, multi-tasking, and prioritization skills
  • Knowledge of general IT support
  • Team player that is willing to do a variety of tasks as needed
  • Experience in event planning, meeting scheduling, and client hospitality
  • General office management experience
  • Good Microsoft Office and Adobe Suite skills
  • Experience in graphic design or marketing support an asset

4. Marketing Coordinator

Job Requirements:

  • Excellent Microsoft Office skills
  • Proficient in Adobe Suite  (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop)
  • 6-8 years marketing experience, 2-3 years in the A/E/C industry preferred
  • Ability to work well under deadline pressure and handle multiple assignments concurrently
  • Excellent communication skills – a “people person” with a positive outlook
  • Team player that is willing to go the extra mile
  • Detail oriented
  • Ability to work with strong personalities
  • Strong writing and graphic design skills
  • Willingness to travel to our Vancouver, BC office

Salary and Benefits

Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience. Generous benefits, including medical/dental insurance, retirement funds contribution matching, and transit subsidy.

How to Apply

Please email resume in PDF with cover letter/email, and the title of the job you are interested in in the  subject-line, attention Catherine Calvert, AIA, ccalvert@via-architecture.com:

  • Please include samples of your work, keeping total email size below 3 MB.
  • No phone calls or office visits please.
  • Applicants must meet minimum experience qualifications to be considered for these positions.

For more information about VIA Architecture, please visit our website at http://www.via-architecture.com/

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. This doesn’t work except in the most valuable areas, like a strong downtown. Even there, building all that free storage space for your car, makes that future project’s lease rates too high to cover those costs, and no longer competitive with whats already there. A new urbanist solution such as Kent Station or Mill Creek tuck the oceans of surface parking behind retail establishments along a “walking main street.” This superficial solution just masks the problem and is an aesthetic fix.

Rather, removing City requirements for parking altogether (known in the field as “un-bundling”) is often discussed in TOD plans as one of the first strategic moves City can make to support incremental infill development. This allows projects to begin to pencil economically and allows them to be designed in a more compact, transit friendly way. A developer can charge separately for what it really costs to build parking (from $35,00-$45,000) per space. Neighborhoods are skiddish about moving in this direction, when people look at new developments all they see is traffic! I’ve heard this over and over again. Even in our existing, very transit oriented environments this change to take on the parking problem is slow. In part, it is due to a failure of imagination and because reversing course takes a lot of work. It requires setting up a whole new system, where all stakeholders can see the end point, with options that work for each party.

This is where a GreenTrip program I think will be most useful. Green Trip effectively creates something like a LEED awards program for infill development in already transit friendly locations. It provides an alternative and pre-validated set of choices to reduce our dependence on the provision of new parking spaces as our only solution for mobility.

The program has been designed to allow a developer and its City partner to participate without taking on added risk, or taking a a lot of public flack for “giving away something for free” by reducing parking requirements. It is also intended to reassure neighborhood residents and financiers by clearly showing exactly how urban design (read street edge development that you want to walk to, and closely mixing together uses) can when combined with support for particular behaviors such as free transit passes,  access to a car share and un-bundling your parking space from your unit (you rent it separately) results in less overall driving by residents. That means less congestion on already busy roads, more transit riders and and the beginning of a cycle of people who will positively support transit.  More likely than not, it might also mean better living spaces because dollars and invested in the building and not in the parking garage. The program frees up private sector dollars to support something other than new car infrastructure.

At VIA we’ve been looking at and working on similar issues for sometime. We are looking forward to participating with King County on their upcoming Right Sized Parking Project, which will tackle a similar question. How can we help Cities to better adjust their parking requirements in support of transit? How can we elevate this to a broader question about solving for personal mobility at a regional level, and give real options that don’t require a fight in each neighborhood? Perhaps its really just about adjusting what we can realistically take for granted.  Combining smart urban design with different transportation result in some big changes about how people choose to travel, hopefully the puget sound region can devise a new way to reverse the parking cycle.

Monday News Roundup

Jan 09, 2012

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

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. 
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 city where they served espresso, and all the bike shops…

In 2006, the mayor of São Paulo, Brazil, Gilberto Kassab, passed the “Clean City Law,” which banned every billboard, poster and bus ad in the city.

Kaid Benfield discusses sustainable living patterns and the need for a diversity of choices within a community given the recent heyday of sprawl. 

A new report by the American Public Transit Association places Seattle in fourth place on its list of what various cities’ residents can save from taking public transit to work.

Brooklyn’s Secret Subway Vent (Sustainable Cities Collective)

This “house” in Brooklyn is actually “the world’s only Greek Revival subway ventilator,” a secret entrance to the 4/5 line, and disguised emergency exit. 

Adapting to Changing Times: The legacy of old dairy barns

by Catherine Calvert, Director of Community Sustainability, VIA Architecture
Photo: Petersen Barn (credit)

Western Washington has an architectural legacy from its former dairy agricultural past which is both valuable and perplexing at the same time. This area was once considered ideal for dairy farming due to its gentle climate and lush landscapes, producing brands such as Carnation, which became synonymous with “contented cows” and healthy milk products in the early 20th century (1). As with so many forms of small-scale agriculture, the family dairy farm began its decline as industrial-scale enterprises began to dominate production in the post-WWII years. The agricultural landscape gave way to suburban development throughout the Puget Sound area, but in many places there remain visible reminders of this architectural and cultural past. The challenge now is how to preserve and adapt these structures, particularly barns and silos, to present-day uses. In recent months we have visited three former dairy farms that are each rising to this challenge in distinctly different ways.

Petersen Farm, Silverdale

The Petersen Farm in Silverdale is a 167-acre parcel that was farmed for 51 years as a dairy and subsequently a beef cattle farm by Gerald Petersen, who passed away in 2009. His estate has been working with the Great Peninsula Conservancy, a Kitsap-based non-profit land trust, to purchase the development rights to the property in order to maintain the property as active farmland in perpetuity. Last month, with local business and community support, the farm’s fundraising campaign met its goal to raise matching funds for a USDA Farm Protection Grant. This is one of the last remaining large agricultural parcels in Kitsap County, and preservation of the area’s farming heritage in the Clear Creek Valley is an important community legacy.

Petersen Barn (credit)

An interesting thing about this farm is that it contains portions of three homesteads in the area that date back to the late 1800’s, when the land was first cleared. One of the original houses built by the pioneering Levin family still stands on the property, as does the 1902 Holm barn, recently placed on the Washington State Heritage Barn Register (2). This makes for an interesting archaeology in considering restoration work, and how to be respectful to several simultaneous layers of architectural history. The barn, a gable-on-hip style with vertical stave wood grain silos adjacent, is in need of basic structural stabilization work before any new uses could be contemplated. Preservation and adaptive reuse of this structure is going to be a big challenge.
To read more about this project visit:

http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2010/jun/22/conservationists-working-to-keep-this-central/

http://www.greatpeninsula.org/documents/SavePetersenFarmbrochure.pdf

Kinnear Ambold Barn, Fall City 

Also recently placed on the Heritage Barn Register is the Kinnear Ambold Barn, part of an original 40-acre farm that served as a dairy until the 1940’s. Much smaller in scale than the Petersen property, a portion of this farm is privately owned, left to a Seattle business owner by an elderly neighbor in 2008, and the remainder being donated to the PCC Farmland Trust. Its barn sits prominently on the Fall City-Issaquah Road, and is noted as a prominent feature on this historic corridor in King County literature (3).

Originally built in 1910, this is an English Gambrel style milking barn with an adjacent concrete stave silo. Deeply buried in blackberries when the current owner took on the task of building renovation, the floor and foundation were decayed enough that restoration was not a possibility, and a complete re-build of the lower floor was the only way to save the building. Working closely with King County’s preservation architect Todd Scott, the owner hopes to modernize the structure to meet current codes while honoring the building’s original architectural style, and provide the infrastructure to suit a future commercial tenant. The site is ideal for who could develop a business catering to interest in local agriculture, or some kind of commercial enterprise that caters to the cyclists and sightseers that pass by frequently on the Issaquah-Fall City corridor.


Kinnear Ambold Barn, Fall City (credit VIA)

To read more about this project visit:

http://www.djc.com/news/ae/12034831.html (subscription required)

http://www.dahp.wa.gov/sites/default/files/Round9_PresentationBarns.pdf

Tahoma Farms, Orting

One of the PCC Farmland Trust’s most recent conservation projects is the 100-acre former Ford Dairy in Orting. In 2009 this farm was transformed, through the purchase of development rights, into three organic farms including the 40-acres Tahoma Farms. The Ford Dairy had operated for over 70 years and had over 300 cows at its peak; the Tahoma parcel received the bulk of the building infrastructure from the former dairy, including a rambling collection of barns, sheds, silos, and paved livestock yards. The challenge for the current owners is that their production is focused on organic fruits and vegetables rather than animals, so they have little use for such a large amount of built space beyond basic needs such as office space, washing and storage rooms, and equipment storage.

Most of the buildings are in fair condition, consisting less of traditionally enclosed barn space like the Petersen or Kinnear Ambold properties, and more as a large and diverse covered area of pole construction with trusses and rafters. The opportunity is there to eventually develop these structures into uses that are compatible with organic farming, creating a potential agritourism destination and diversifying the farm’s income stream. The buildings are currently clustered together in a way that suited the dairy’s needs; the design challenge for adaptive reuse will be to keep the best of the structures and create space between them for other uses to flourish.


Aerial of Tahoma Farms (credit Google)


Tahoma Farms Barn (credit VIA)


Tahoma Farms former dairy structures (credit VIA)

To read more about Tahoma Farms:

http://www.tahomafarms.com/

http://www.pccfarmlandtrust.org/our-farms/orting-valley-farms/

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/pacificnw/2015934162_pacificpfootpcctrust28.html

What these barns share, despite different settings and circumstances, is the challenge of adapting to a change in context. All purpose-built for an industry that no longer needs them, through a variety of ownership strategies, funding sources, and commercial needs, each of them is likely to find its way back to an extended useful life. Here are some great examples of the reuse of barns and silos that could be used for inspiration:


NL Architects adaptive reuse competition, Amsterdam (credit)


Adaptive reuse barn, SCDLP, UK (credit)


seARCH Architects, Residence, Amsterdam (credit)

References:
(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnation_(brand)
(2) http://www.dahp.wa.gov/sites/default/files/Round10_BarnPresentation.pdf
(3) http://your.kingcounty.gov/kcdot/roads/wcms/planning/historic/corridors/IssaquahFallCity.pdf

Photo credits:
1: http://www.buylocalfoodinkitsap.org/the-peterson-farm-a-legacy-in-danger
2: www.highdynamicrangeimages.wordpress.com
3: VIA Architecture
4: Google
5: VIA Architecture
6: VIA Architecture
7: http://inhabitat.com/abandoned-silos-transformed-into-a-climbing-gym/
8: http://dornob.com/vernacular-barn-converted-into-spacious-modern-home/
9: http://weburbanist.com/2009/10/12/adaptive-reuse-15-creative-house-home-conversions/

For over 25 years, VIA has sent out holiday cards to clients, colleagues, and friends. This year however, in the spirit of the season, we’ve decided to devote resources to a new holiday tradition that will give back to our communities.

Staff in both our Vancouver BC and Seattle WA offices donated cans, scratched their heads, and worked collaboratively on a “canstruction” project. After building their design, cans were donated to the local food bank.Play the videos below to see what each office canstructed.

Wishing you the very best for this holiday season!

Cheers,

The VIA Team

Monday News Roundup

Dec 19, 2011

Happy Monday! Let’s start the week off right by catching up on the top headlines in sustainability and urban design:

Living in Vancouver comes at a price (The Globe and Mail)
With a fresh mandate and another majority on council, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is laying out new priorities for affordable housing.

How Planning is Like Growing Tomatoes (Planetizen)
An organic system is rarely the sum of its parts. Nothing demonstrates this as clearly as sinking your teeth into a store-bought tomato, writes Ben Brown…

In Copenhagen, gas stations are equipped for bicycle care (Springwise)
Norwegian gas company Statoil has equipped five of its Copenhagen stations with Cykelpleje centers dedicated to bicycle maintenance and repair.
The Benefits of Urban Forests (Planetizen)
This video explains how urban forests provide environmental benefits to densely populated cities that have felt a surge in health problems due to poor air quality.

A day in the life of a pop-up café (Sustainable Cities Collective)
For two years now NYC’s DOT has been partnering with local restaurants to install pop-up cafés in parking spaces – creating vibrant public spaces the whole community can enjoy.

HopStop Infographic: Top Urban Travel Trends (Sustainable Cities)
Check out HopStop’s infographic for insights into how commuters in more than 68 major metropolitan areas travel.

Addressing Climate Change Via Cities (Sustainable Cities)
This post takes a look back over the collaborative series COP17, discussing the best ideas explored and whether the agreement reached last Friday is enough.
Vibrant & Energy Efficient Social Housing Community in Scotland (Inhabitat)
Grödians, a vibrant social housing project, consists of 34 single family homes all traditionally designed but with major improvements for energy efficient design.

Folding Bikes Gain Popularity in Brazil (Planetizen)
Maria Fernanda Cavalcanti, a resident of Brazil, writes that folding bicycles “…have been catching the attention of urban cyclists everywhere.”