Birds + Climate Change

 

Course Instructor

Mackenzie Waller

Course Date

Winter 2020

Course Type

Undergraduate + Graduate Studio

As climate change becomes an increasing challenge there is still opportunity and hope for ensuring resiliency for our birds and the natural world. National Audubon’s Climate Report suggests about 2/3 of the birds in peril can be helped by acting now.This provides hope and a pathway for action.

The Birds + Climate Change Studio worked in partnership with the Tahoma Audubon Society at their small wetland park site in the South Puget Sound region, Adriana Hess Audubon Center. We tasked students with a series of questions. How can design balance the intersection of habitat specific solutions and urban public space? How might the Audubon Society create bird habitat while still ensuring the safety of park visitors? How can we creatively incorporate traditional park elements with natural habitat spaces and stormwater management?

This document attempts to capture the outcomes of these studio investigations across scales, from regional to small fabricated prototypes.

Download the PDF
View the studio report online

Porous Public Space 2019

Course Instructor

Nancy Rottle

Course Date

Autumn 2019

Course Type

Scan|Design Master’s Studio

Studio Book 

Download the PDF
View the studio report on issuu

The Capitol Hill neighborhood is known for its hip bars, cultural diversity, historic mansions, and steep streets. With its reputation for being Seattle’s coolest neighborhood, the addition of the light rail station, and corporate growth in nearby South Lake Union, is rapidly intensifying, bringing both opportunities and challenges to this urban, but historically residential neighborhood. The community values public space for informal and celebratory social events, and organizations are working to increase both the amount of green space available and commercial corridors to support vibrant, local businesses. However, population growth also increases demands on the city’s infrastructure, such as the stormwater system.

Capitol Hill’s urban hydrology is unique in that the neighborhood is surrounded by water bodies on three sides, which receives stormwater draining from the hill’s contaminated streets, roofs, and in severe rain events, its sanitary sewers. The goal of this year’s studio was to enhance the public realm of Capitol Hill while also lessening the impact of stormwater runoff through innovative designs. Our experiences in Copenhagen and Malmö inspired our efforts to design equitable, sustainable, and porous public spaces that embrace stormwater as a potential civic asset.

This year marks the twelfth Scan|Design Interdisciplinary Master Studio and we would like to give special thanks to the Scan|Design Foundation for their continued support of this extraordinary opportunity. The immersive relationship between life in Seattle and Copenhagen would not be possible without our Master Teacher, Louise Grassov; we are so thankful for her guidance and talent, from which our students benefit greatly both in Copenhagen and during her visit to Seattle.

This year we had the opportunity to once again partner with the Seattle 2030 District, an initiative to create efficient, sustainable, and resilient cities; we especially thank Steven Fry for his insight and participation in panels and reviews. We also worked with the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict’s Public Life project, which collects data to inform equitable planning for holistic public spaces; we especially thank Erin Fried who gave students feedback, hosted our final review, and made our final exhibit at 12th Avenue Arts possible. Both Steven and Erin will continue to use this student work to inform and inspire sustainable development in Capitol Hill moving forward. Finally, we sincerely thank all of our reviewers from our professional community who volunteered their time to support students’ ideas, progress, and visions.

Liquid lands: investigating the estuaries of the Salish Sea

graphic banner of a city plan with street layouts and rivers in red and orange shades and the title Cartographic Imaginations

Course Instructor

Ken Yocom

Course Date

Academic Year
2018–19

Course Type

LARCH 598 + 702
Capstone Studio

Liquid Lands is a project of design, science, and communication that builds on and consolidates emerging methods in design research and representation practices across a broad range of disciplines accessing approaches and epistemological frameworks from landscape architecture, critical cartography, art, geography, and museology. It communicates the complex research of the Salish Sea to the geographic locations of the most substantive inputs into the ecosystem, riverine estuaries. While extensive, the scope is grounded in place, excavating and reassembling the nature of these watery lands to bring new light, perspective, and questions to how we understand nature and our role within it.

Learn more about the liquid lands studio and the rest of the Cartographic Imaginations studio series at imaginations.hive.be.uw.edu.

Ōtākaro/Avon Cultural Trail

Course Instructors

Nancy Rottle

Course Date

Winter 2019

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Graduate Studio
Study Abroad in New Zealand

Course Description

In partnership with the University of Washington, a team of College of Built Environments graduate students (from Landscape Architecture, Architecture, and Urban Planning) embarked on a 10-week study abroad program in Christchurch, New Zealand. Following the 2010/2011 earthquakes and ongoing rebuild processes, students sought to study and most importantly learn from the city’s approach to post-earthquake recovery and resilience planning/design. The program, which ran from January to March 2019, provided a unique opportunity to leverage multidisciplinary thinking and place-based narratives to contribute to the community’s growing body of knowledge.

Based on Regenerate Christchurch’s plan to reinvigorate the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor and the organization’s desire to weave in a cultural trail, students endeavored to uncover the stories and themes that could be told along the river. We hope the ideas contained in this booklet—which range from conceptual designs to activities/programs—inspire imagination and provide the foundation for what’s next.

The cultural trail we have proposed has taken many forms—they range from trails of activities and programs to digital signage to collections of memories. The common thread that weaves them all together is a distinct effort to honor the past, present, and future of the river. The following proposals are not possible without a clean and healthy river, so let’s celebrate its value by stewarding it for future generations.

Explore the full Ōtākaro/Avon Studio Book.

Continuity and Change: Urban Transitions, Public Life for 15th Avenue East

Course Instructor

Nancy Rottle

Course Date

Autumn 2018

Course Type

Scan Design Master Studio

How can a neighborhood retain its “soul” while also accommodating growth and change?  How can design of a commercial street invite public use and the cultivation of a more vibrant “public life” culture?  As a neighborhood in a rapidly-growing city transitions, how can its history, current strengths and beloved qualities be preserved, while also accommodating and promoting the kind of change that will cultivate a more socially just, economically robust and environmentally regenerative urban node?

These are questions we explored throughout the 2018 studio, using the 15th Ave. East commercial node as a case study for our analyses, urban theory-based investigations, planning and design explorations. Our work was grounded in the expressed wishes of the local neighborhood residential and commercial community, garnered through a workshop in Spring of 2018 that was sponsored and documented by the local interdisciplinary planning and design firms of Board and Vellum, and Environmental Works.  The workshop asked, “What are your best ideas for the future of 15th Ave. East? Participants addressed safety, green space, small businesses, job development and thoughtful density and also drew their ideas on overlays of existing street elevations.

Our studio explored how we can address these desires, and bring our own sensibilities, research and design talents to propose policies, plans, designs and guidelines for improvements to the street and public realm, and to the possibilities for transitioning sites located along this current commercial stretch.  Inspired by our experiences in Copenhagen and Malmo, we considered how to apply the Gehl and Schulze + Grassov methods for studying public space; to design invitations that build vibrant neighborhood social life by encouraging staying in the public realm of streets, plazas, parks and leftover spaces; and to innovate exemplary design that is equitable, ecological, and climate-resilient.  Throughout the term, we worked with professionals from Board and Vellum and Environmental Works, as well as residents, business owners, city staff, and local architects and landscape architects.

Project Website
Studio Book

Design Foundations Studio 2018

Course Instructor

Iain Robertson + Liz Browning

Course Date

Autumn 2018

Course Type

LARCH 401 Foundation Studio

L ARCH 401 is an introductory studio, a foundation for subsequent courses that explore project design in varied contexts and scales. It introduces students to theory and practice of landscape design and site planning ­­by doing, observing, reading & reflecting. We use the word ‘landscape’ holistically. Landscapes are complex, dynamic, interactive and evolving systems. This studio is taught along courses in (1) site planning, (2) landscape graphics, and (3) grading and drainage. Together they lay the foundation for learning to plan, design and represent or depict, places/environments that are functionally, aesthetically, ecologically, and psychologically enriching while aspiring to be “sustainable” as urban ecological designs.

The slideshow above is from the introduction to the final design review. Here’s a link to the PDF.

Cinematic Cities

Course Instructor

Elizabeth Umbanhowar

Course Date

Summer 2018

Course Type

Advanced Undergraduate Studio

Course Description

“Cinematic Cities” features student films made in the summer 2018 as part of a summer design studio in the Department of the Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington. Students explored how film can be used in design practice to analyse sites, communicate complex social and ecological systems and propose new visions for communities and cities.

Working with the Freeway Park Association, students focused on this iconic park, designed by Lawrence Halprin and Angela Danadjieva and opened on July 4, 1976. Their short films experiment and explore the park and its history and future, proposing new ways to imaging, navigate, inhabit and appreciate Freeway Park.

Reef Design in an Octopus’ Garden

Course Instructors

Iain Robertson
Brooke Sullivan

Course Date

Spring 2018

Course Type

Graduate + Undergraduate Advanced Studio

Course Description

UW Landscape Architecture collaborated with Washington Scuba Alliance (WSA) to develop design options for artificial reefs where divers can observe the diversity of Puget Sound’s marine flora and fauna. The site was Redondo Beach, a small community on the boundary of Des Moines and Federal Way. The reef will be sited across approximately 4 acres of intertidal habitat at one of the most popular dive sites in the entire Puget Sound. An adjacent pier contains Highline College’s Marine Science and Technology Center (MaST), which conducts active marine research and teaching programs and has a public aquarium which is home to over 250 species of marine life. A small stream, piped and culverted for much of its length, flows into the bay at the base of the pier.

Sometimes a sweet project comes across your desk and you just can’t say “no.” This is such an opportunity. Characteristics that make the project particularly intriguing:

  • the manageable scale of the project, site and context.
  • the fact that the design will be
  • the complex of regulatory agencies, municipalities, non-profit organizations, private and public neighbors, interest groups, educational institutions and programs, (with mandates, goals, needs and aspirations that may cooperate or compete) which the designers must navigate and making sense of.’
  • the opportunity to synthesize and integrate these disparate views, goals, needs, hopes, dreams and regulations into a coherent understanding of the design possibilities and do so in a way that maximizes the opportunity for all parties to cooperate.
  • the opportunity to combine art and science in the reef design. Aus Higley, Manager of MaST speaking of the potential of design: “art is one of the best ways to teach science.”
  • the opportunity to articulate this synthesis in visually comprehensible and appealing ways and present these design ideas to disparate audiences

Masterplan for the Redondo Beach Dive Site

The studio project was featured in the September 2018 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

UW Aquatic Research Facility: Site Study + Design Visions

Course Instructors

Julie Parrett

Course Date

Spring 2018

Course Type

Advanced Graduate Studio

Course Description

Working with the UW Office of Capital Planning + Development and the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, students from the College of Built Environments explored how the strategic site selection, programming, and site development of a new Aquatic Research Center at UW might serve its primary function for research and learning while also activating campus life, enhancing connections to the natural world, and engaging off-campus collaborators. Students incorporated relevant goals and objectives from the 2018 University of Washington Seattle Campus Master Plan and Landscape in Motion: UW’s Campus Landscape Framework (2015) as they considered and evaluated potential locations for the facility.

As aspiring landscape and architecture designers, the students worked in teams to investigate landscape phenomena, relationships, processes and systems and develop designs visions which embody creativity and a sophisticated sense of space, process and form.  The students were encouraged to develop strategies and craft places which focus on how the exterior components of the center accommodates research needs while fostering a vibrant campus and public life. The Aquatic Research Center must function as a hub for aquatic research but should also be experienced as a place of advocacy for our connection to the natural world in general and Pacific NW salmon in particular.

The student teams were tasked with

  • developing a vision and program for the center,
  • identifying and assessing appropriate campus sites, and
  • developing concept designs which consider both the campus’ current context and UW’s future campus development plans.

This studio would not have been possible without the financial support of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Puget Sound Anglers, and Northwest Marine Technology, Inc.

Course Artifacts

1 UW ARC Foreward and Overview
2 UW ARC FH Vision 1
3 UW ARC FH Vision 2
4 UW ARC UBNA Vision 3
5 UW ARC UBNA Vision 4
6 UW ARC 6 Resources

Full Report (low resolution)

Staying in Place: Designing for Community Resilience

Course Instructors

Rachel Berney
Julie Johnson

Course Term

Winter 2018

Course Type

Built Environment Interdisciplinary Studio

Course Description

The studio and seminar were framed to engage students in concepts of resilience across different scales and through outreach with community members and others. The concept of “staying in place” expresses a response to catastrophic events as well as a claim to one’s local community. Drawing upon this duality, the studio investigated design for community resilience at the Mount Baker Light Rail Station Area. The development of this light rail station, SDOT’s strategies for “Accessible Mount Baker,” and other emerging initiatives provided a robust foundation.

The studio and seminar focused on defining dimensions of community resilience to support “staying in place.” Working with local stakeholders, the studio drew from relevant theory and precedents to propose opportunities within and beyond the neighborhood in the context of current planning initiatives, anticipated development opportunities, and potential upheavals to existing systems.

Learn more about the studio at bakerhub.be.washington.edu.