Seattle’s Housing Crisis: Encouraging better development


[Image by BUILD LLC] Seattle is currently experiencing unprecedented population growth along with record setting development. This is challenging the city’s growth management and it’s bringing city zoning and building code decisions to the forefront of the discussion. As architects and Seattleites deeply concerned with the quality of life and well-being of the communities around us, we’ve been thinking a great deal about the codes and policies that regulate our built environment (or in some instances, don’t it regulate properly). It’s a critical moment in Seattle, and calibrating the city’s policies correctly could result in vibrant neighborhoods that support diversity, inclusion, and quality of life. Conversely, making uninformed decisions or failing to make decisions altogether won’t just result in urban paralysis, it will bleed Seattle of its character and quality of life. In 2014, Seattle launched the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) which gathered the collective research and wisdom
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Desert Palisades Guardhouse by Studio AR+D Architects

                                                <a href="http://design-milk.com/desert-palisades-guardhouse-by-studio-ard-architects/desert-palisades-guardhouse-1/" data-wpel-link="internal"><img src="http://design-milk.com/images/2017/10/Desert-Palisades-Guardhouse-1-810x540.jpg" alt="Desert Palisades Guardhouse by Studio AR+D Architects" /></a>
                                To round out the much anticipated residential development, Desert Palisades, <a href="http://www.studio-ard.com/" data-wpel-link="external"  rel="external noopener noreferrer">Studio AR+D Architects</a> were tasked with designing their 915 square foot <a href="http://www.studio-ard.com/projects/desert-palisades-guardhouse/" data-wpel-link="external"  rel="external noopener noreferrer">guardhouse</a> on the hills overlooking Palm Springs. The natural setting, along with the future homes being built there, were the inspiration for the design – modern, yet industrial to fit in with the rugged landscape. That led to a selection of materials that would not only be timeless, but that would last in the harsh, desert environment.
The design team chose to cantilever the roof out over the driveways and a massive boulder that rests below it. The roof and boulder don’t touch but the design looks as if it was built to accommodate the natural stone. The exaggerated roof line, which spans 34 feet, tests the limits as to what engineering is capable of, almost making you feel as if the modest building might tip over. Steel and
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Seattle’s Housing Crisis: Getting the Facts Straight

There’s a heightened discussion in Seattle lately around the overwhelming population growth the city is facing, along with the increasing demand of the housing necessary to accommodate everyone. The topic of housing (or lack thereof) has become a critical platform for the politicians, a code-red concern for neighborhoods and, if you’re in the design world, it’s the primary topic of discussion at most professional gatherings. The tension on the subject of housing right now in Seattle has reached its boiling point and BUILD will be launching a series of blog posts on the topic to help clarify the issues, give voice to good solutions, and better educate ourselves and our community on the situation. One noticeable aspect that’s confusing the conversation around Seattle’s housing crisis is the lack of consistent information. It seems that every time we get into a discussion about population growth in Seattle, different statistics are declared
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S2V 2017


[From left to right: Todd Plaunt, Andrew van Leeuwen, Pete Nelson, Michael Smith, Mark Carson, Brian Boram, Kevin Eckert, Albert Shum, Jeff Johnson, Peter Gray, Aaron Pambianco, Paul Jaqua, Chris Mears, Blair Casey, Brandon Boudreaux, Greg Plaunt, Bill Weigand] Something remarkable happened this last summer. Each year, at the end of August, we round up our comrades and ride for two days from Seattle to Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s a chance to close our laptops, get some serious fitness, and spend time with an exceptional crew of individuals, all while enjoying the spectacle of summer in the Pacific Northwest. Like every year, we carefully chose a compelling non-profit organization to direct our contributions to, and, like every year, we called on our community to contribute to that organization. This year we made an especially unreasonable financial goal, doubling our initial pledge, and asked our community to dig deep and give
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A Decade of the BUILD Blog


[Image by BUILD LLC] This post marks the 10 year anniversary of the BUILD Blog. A decade ago this exact week, we launched our very first post. By the end of the month, we’d posted our first of many essays, revealing the heart behind why we started blogging in the first place. Over the past 10 years, the blog has gone through several evolutions. We’ve redesigned it, refocused it, removed the comments section, etc. It’s an ever-evolving endeavor. The blog has served as a space for conversation, sharing, community, information, and humor. And ultimately, we’ve found its highest usefulness comes directly by sharing not just what we’re doing, but how we are accomplishing things.
[BUILD Blog 2007-2009, 2009-2012, 2012-present] Now, approaching this significant milestone in the BUILD Blog’s history, our mission statement we shared five years ago remains as true now as then: make architecture accessible, create a culture of
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The Modern List Seattle


[Original Photo by Alex Garland for Capitol Hill Seattle] Each year, we publish our top picks for the latest places to eat and visit for the design-minded resident or visitor to our fine city. Now with the first of the summer holidays behind us, our city is in full tourist season mode, just in time to release our 11th edition of TML Seattle. COFFEE
Honor Society Coffee / @honorsocietycoffee, 1531 Melrose Ave, 206.859.7554

[Image Credit: Honor Society Coffee]  Union Coffee / @unioncoffeeseattle, 2407 Union Street B, 206.577.7953

[Image Credit: Union Coffee Seattle]  Moonshot Coffee / @moonshotcoffee, 9622 16th Ave SW

[Image Credit: Moonshot Coffee]  Royal Drummer Cafe / @royaldrummer, 6420 24th Ave NW, 206.420.7723

[Image Credit: Anna Brones for Sprudge] BRUNCH | LUNCH
Mr. West Cafe Bar / @mrwestdrinks,
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The Modern List Seattle


[Original Photo by Alex Garland for Capitol Hill Seattle] Each year, we publish our top picks for the latest places to eat and visit for the design-minded resident or visitor to our fine city. Now with the first of the summer holidays behind us, our city is in full tourist season mode, just in time to release our 11th edition of TML Seattle. COFFEE
Honor Society Coffee / @honorsocietycoffee, 1531 Melrose Ave, 206.859.7554

[Image Credit: Honor Society Coffee]  Union Coffee / @unioncoffeeseattle, 2407 Union Street B, 206.577.7953

[Image Credit: Union Coffee Seattle]  Moonshot Coffee / @moonshotcoffee, 9622 16th Ave SW

[Image Credit: Moonshot Coffee]  Royal Drummer Cafe / @royaldrummer, 6420 24th Ave NW, 206.420.7723

[Image Credit: Anna Brones for Sprudge] BRUNCH | LUNCH
Mr. West Cafe Bar / @mrwestdrinks,
Continue reading "The Modern List Seattle"

The Modern List Seattle


[Original Photo by Alex Garland for Capitol Hill Seattle] Each year, we publish our top picks for the latest places to eat and visit for the design-minded resident or visitor to our fine city. Now with the first of the summer holidays behind us, our city is in full tourist season mode, just in time to release our 11th edition of TML Seattle. COFFEE
Honor Society Coffee / @honorsocietycoffee, 1531 Melrose Ave, 206.859.7554

[Image Credit: Honor Society Coffee]  Union Coffee / @unioncoffeeseattle, 2407 Union Street B, 206.577.7953

[Image Credit: Union Coffee Seattle]  Moonshot Coffee / @moonshotcoffee, 9622 16th Ave SW

[Image Credit: Moonshot Coffee]  Royal Drummer Cafe / @royaldrummer, 6420 24th Ave NW, 206.420.7723

[Image Credit: Anna Brones for Sprudge] BRUNCH | LUNCH
Mr. West Cafe Bar / @mrwestdrinks,
Continue reading "The Modern List Seattle"

Designing the College Campus—Past, Present, and Future; An Interview with Rebecca Barnes & Kristine Kenney, Part 2


[Image credit: Kieran Timberlake / Olin] This past winter, BUILD sat down with Rebecca Barnes and Kristine Kenney at the University of Washington in Seattle to discuss the dynamic developments on UW’s campus, designing and planning universities now and in the future, and what Seattle can learn from Boston during this time of major growth. Check out part 1 of the interview in ARCADE Magazine, Issue 35.1, available in print on and their website. The work you are engaged in is much more involved than what most people think of as a typical day in the design profession, involving diplomacy, advocacy, and negotiating. What professional skills were most important to cultivate in order to be successful in your work?
Rebecca Barnes: The key is building and managing relationships; it’s about understanding and communicating with people. I’ve always been interested in that, and it’s what guided me through my
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The Bill Buxton Primer


[Image credit: Microsoft] On May 23rd ARCADE Magazine will host designer, writer, and researcher Bill Buxton for their Spring Salon held at the swanky Cloud Room on Capitol Hill. Bill currently holds the position of Principal Researcher at Microsoft and he’s the closest human we’ve ever met to the Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World — only Bill can do it all without the beard. The event is being moderated by our very own Andrew and Kevin, and there’s only 60 seats in the house, so grab your tickets and come join us for an evening of extraordinary design talk, paradigm shifting ideas, and an adult beverage or two. There’s more info about the salon on ARCADE’s blog and Facebook event page. Needless to say, we’re very excited about the event and today’s post is equal parts tribute to Bill Buxton and primer on some of his work,
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Representing the Real, A New Year’s Resolution


[Image by BUILD LLC] Looking back on 2016, we can’t help but acknowledge a tremendous amount of good fortune, incredible work, and inspiring talent in the design industry. It was an exceptional year for the design community and, like many of the firms we know and respect, we feel privileged to have a continued role in designing and constructing the built-environment around us. Alongside an appreciation of the opportunities that the last year created, we’ve also been attentive to trends that continue to worry us. In particular, the ever-increasing sensationalism within the design industry. The architecture profession is now saturated with so much design-hype that it’s increasingly difficult to tell fact from fiction. There are the articles that paint the starchitect as the master creative that spends the day sketching one brilliant sketch after the next. And while that may be the case, to some degree this coverage fails to
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Public Art That Does a Lot with a Little


[Image via SeattleRefined] As individuals who spend our days working toward good design, nothing saddens us more than the elaborate and expensive piece of public art that fails to spark joy, neglects the wonder of curiosity, or misses the mark of contemplation. The examples that frustrate us most cost tens of thousands of public dollars, take up valuable space in the city, and consume the energy of the artist commissioned to produce it. More often than not, these pieces simply add visual noise to the built environment. In our own travels and experiences, these pieces fail for numerous reasons. There’s the installation almost entirely dependent on a water feature component which has since been shut off (or broken). There’s the mindless Plop Art — plopped down without any thought to its context or environment. There’s the work that’s simply been overdesigned and overworked. The list goes on. We’ve been getting into
Continue reading "Public Art That Does a Lot with a Little"

Public Art That Does a Lot with a Little


[Image via SeattleRefined] As individuals who spend our days working toward good design, nothing saddens us more than the elaborate and expensive piece of public art that fails to spark joy, neglects the wonder of curiosity, or misses the mark of contemplation. The examples that frustrate us most cost tens of thousands of public dollars, take up valuable space in the city, and consume the energy of the artist commissioned to produce it. More often than not, these pieces simply add visual noise to the built environment. In our own travels and experiences, these pieces fail for numerous reasons. There’s the installation almost entirely dependent on a water feature component which has since been shut off (or broken). There’s the mindless Plop Art — plopped down without any thought to its context or environment. There’s the work that’s simply been overdesigned and overworked. The list goes on. We’ve been getting into
Continue reading "Public Art That Does a Lot with a Little"

It’s YOUR EntreArchitect

Основные RGB It was December 12th, 2012. That was the day when I relaunched my personal blog Entrepreneur Architect with it’s new domain EntreArchtect.com, posted my first podcast episode and promised you, the small firm architect, that I would dedicate my time, my money and my efforts to building this platform into an influential force in the profession. That was almost 4 years ago. Since that time, we have grown The EntreArchitect Community to many tens of thousands of architects practicing from every corner of the globe. (Do globes have corners?) Today, about 30,000 users visit this EntreArchitect Blog each month, 9,000 download individual episodes of EntreArchitect Podcast and more than 6,000 subscribers receive each edition of EntreArchitect Report, my free weekly newsletter, direct to their inbox. On social media platforms more than 17,000 people are members at our private LinkedIn Group and more than 1,000 are members have joined
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Design Values Roundup

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[Image Credit: united4design] Over the last week there’s been a pronounced emphasis on the values at work in our communities. This examination of ethics and principles has occurred both at the personal level as well as at the level of our collective mind here at BUILD. It’s been important for us to identify the performances and behaviors we strive for in the world, whether as individuals or as a team of architects, builders, and people who care deeply about the world around us. While our website declares 5 values we hold dear, we found that these didn’t go far enough to express where we stand as architects in our current social climate. As architects, we are critical thinkers who advocate for the communities we serve. It behooves us to state the values we stand for in our practice, especially in light of the national AIA’s unqualified support for the
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Architects Are Superheroes

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We Are All Superheroes

We are all superheroes with our own superpowers. We each have special talents that make us unique. We use them everyday, often not knowing the power we yield. We posses the skills to mold and shape the people living and working and playing within the buildings we create. As superheroes we also have an obligation to use our powers for good. We have the responsibility to give back to the society that has granted us the status of superhero. As you may know from previous articles, our firm name, Fivecat Studio, is not only a unique, memorable brand. It is also a tool for us to tell our own personal story. In addition to providing residential architectural services for high-end small projects, Annmarie and I are advocates for homeless pets throughout Westchester County, New York. For many years, Annmarie and I organized an event called Pillows Continue reading "Architects Are Superheroes"

Architects Are Superheroes

shutterstock_374136655

We Are All Superheroes

We are all superheroes with our own superpowers. We each have special talents that make us unique. We use them everyday, often not knowing the power we yield. We posses the skills to mold and shape the people living and working and playing within the buildings we create. As superheroes we also have an obligation to use our powers for good. We have the responsibility to give back to the society that has granted us the status of superhero. As you may know from previous articles, our firm name, Fivecat Studio, is not only a unique, memorable brand. It is also a tool for us to tell our own personal story. In addition to providing residential architectural services for high-end small projects, Annmarie and I are advocates for homeless pets throughout Westchester County, New York. For many years, Annmarie and I organized an event called Pillows Continue reading "Architects Are Superheroes"

Architects Are Superheroes

shutterstock_374136655

We Are All Superheroes

We are all superheroes with our own superpowers. We each have special talents that make us unique. We use them everyday, often not knowing the power we yield. We posses the skills to mold and shape the people living and working and playing within the buildings we create. As superheroes we also have an obligation to use our powers for good. We have the responsibility to give back to the society that has granted us the status of superhero. As you may know from previous articles, our firm name, Fivecat Studio, is not only a unique, memorable brand. It is also a tool for us to tell our own personal story. In addition to providing residential architectural services for high-end small projects, Annmarie and I are advocates for homeless pets throughout Westchester County, New York. For many years, Annmarie and I organized an event called Pillows Continue reading "Architects Are Superheroes"

Running the Numbers of a Design Monoculture

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[Images by BUILD LLC] In recent years, there have been several important articles published on the size of U.S. companies and the subsequent loss of small businesses in America. The current issue of Atlantic Monthly includes an excellent article titled America’s Monopoly Problem in which author Derek Thompson states:

“Entrepreneurship, as measured by the rate of new-business formation, has declined in each decade since the 1970s, and adults under 35 (aka Millennials) are on track to be the least entrepreneurial generation on record … In almost every sector of the economy—including manufacturing, construction, retail, and the entire service sector—the big companies are getting bigger. The share of all businesses that are new firms, meanwhile, has fallen by 50 percent since 1978.”

In a recent New York Times Magazine piece, famed author, journalist and activist, Michael Pollan, addressed the concerns of big business and crop monoculture in his article
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Seattle Design Festival 2016

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[Photo by BUILD LLC] Now in its sixth year, the Seattle Design Festival launched over this past weekend in Pioneer Square. The festival runs from September 10th through September 23rd, and the theme guiding this year’s events is Design Change. After a spin through the opening weekend events, we’ve got our shortlist for the next couple weeks of design heavy activity in the city. _SDF2016_Postcard
[Image Source: Seattle Design Festival] OPENING WEEKEND
Each year, Seattle Design Festival kicks off with an ever-expanding block party showcasing a couple dozen installations responding to the festival theme. In addition, a model exhibit at Seattle’s new Center for Architecture & Design (home to several SDF 2016 events) and an urban market round out the inaugural weekend. Design Block Party
Presented by Design in Public build-blog-sdf-block-party-2
[Photo by BUILD LLC] Design Rumble: An Earthquake Preparedness Design Competition Exhibition
Presented by Architects Without Borders build-blog-sdf-awb-design-rumble
[Photo by BUILD LLC]
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5_PKN-Region-of-Boom
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7_SDF-Room-For-Change
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10_SDF-Design-&-Tech
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