En Route: Georgetown + South Park Connection

Course Instructors

Brian Gerich

Course Date

Autumn 2017

Course Type

Advanced Undergraduate Studio

Course Description

The Neighborhood Design Studio has been keenly focused on delivering a design package that would represent the community desire. The hard work and rich data found in: Duwamish Restoration, Vision and Change Over Time by Cari Simson, The Georgetown Green Space Vision Framework and The South Park Green Space Vision Plan helped frame the foundation of the studio process and serves as a robust source of analysis and community effort. In those documents, Georgetown and South Park have expressed that a safe connection between the two neighborhoods is not only wanted, but is necessary. Rather than repeat the rich content of those robust resources, students built upon it to further their site analysis and design framework.

The studio engaged a diverse group of community members at a variety of community meetings. The primary goal was to prompt opportunities for listening and learning from the community, without repeating the activities, research, and processes that were so thoroughly covered in the vision processes. With careful planning, students asked participatory questions, inspired personal anecdotes and stories from residents, and were invited to contribute as welcomed participants in the community meetings. For many students, this was their rst experience in a community meeting. That process is a foundation of this collection of work.

View the studio book on Issuu

 

City / Nature for Urban Resilience: Greener Belltown, Bluer Sound

Course Instructor

Nancy Rottle

Course Date

Autumn 2017

Course Type

Scan Design Master Studio

How can the infusion of a healthy “Nature,” and approaches that integrate multi-functional natural processes, help to create vibrant, healthful, climate-change resilient urban districts while also helping to restore downstream environments? How might Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood integrate green infrastructure to eliminate combined sewer overflows into Elliott Bay, in ways that also help to regenerate a healthy urban nature and equitably provide the renewing benefits that contact with nature can afford? How can such an integrative design approach help to create and sustain a democratic, just, public life, and foster a vibrant, creative urban neighborhood culture?

Inspired by our experiences of Copenhagen’s and Malmö’s planning policies and design trials for sustainable and climate resilient cities, the 2017 Scan|Design Master Studio worked with the Seattle 2030 District and the Belltown Community to begin to answer these questions.  We explored district planning frameworks that could be useful in integrating these questions into their planning processes. We developed design ideas and typologies to inspire retrofit of streets, urban spaces and buildings that employ natural processes to create a more liveable district, while solving the basin’s stormwater issues and considering future City water and wastewater demands. We had the unique opportunity to work directly with people engaged in ongoing initiatives for Belltown: with a diverse array of community stakeholders and professionals who have been engaged in neighborhood planning processes over past months and years, and with urban habitat and green stormwater proponents; with Seattle Public Utilities at the beginning of their process investigating solutions to the basin’s combined sewer overflows; and with the 2030 District’s visionary goals and progress for reducing peak stormwater discharge and potable water use.

Guided by principles developed by Gehl Architects and Schulze + Grassov, we devised approaches to cultivate and enrich public life — both moving through, and staying in, the public realm of streets, plazas, parks and leftover spaces of the Belltown project area.  Additionally, we worked at district, site and detail scales to use urban design to address climate change impacts through:

  1. exploring opportunities to insert urban nature for biodiversity resilience and human health
  2. addressing social and cultural needs and amenities to cultivate social resilience
  3. artfully integrating water into the cityscape for hydraulic performance, urban nature and human delight

Project Website
Studio Book

Urban-Agri-Culture

Course Instructor

Julie Johnson

Course Date

Spring 2017

Course Type

Graduate Community Design Studio

Course Description

Looking to a more resilient future in the face of climate change and food production as ecological infrastructure, this studio explored where and how urban agriculture may be practiced in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood, notably on civic landscapes, towards a system of productive landscapes.The design process and proposals address issues of social justice and environmental health, and envision multiple benefits of healthy food and environments, ecological learning, community-building, and evolving beauty.

See the final studio booklet, Urban Agriculture as System.

Transit + Civic Landscape Systems

Course Instructors

Julie Johnson

Course Date

Winter 2017

Course Type

Graduate & Undergraduate Studio

Course Description

Looking to foster more resilient urban systems and healthier neighborhoods, this studio took on design processes that engaged community members in civic landscape design, focusing on the systems that support residents’ day-to-day life and improve ecological and cultural qualities across timeframes and spatial scales.  The surroundings of Seattle’s planned North 130th Street Light Rail station served as the neighborhood of focus, with connections reaching east to Lake City and west to Bitter Lake neighborhoods. The students collaborated with varied community members, particularly those active in the local Neighborhood Greenways groups.

Students examined how to enrich, expand, diversify, and connect civic landscape systems in the context of this future station and related development as a new Urban Village, particularly addressing pathways, parks, schools, community gardens, wetlands and other habitats. As they tested concepts of resilience, they sought innovative design approaches to address systemic change—coming from multiple sources and offering multiple benefits towards ecological and social well-being and justice.

LARCH 402+503 Studio Booklet

 

Painted Dog Research Trust Zimbabwe

Course Instructors

Brian Gerich

Course Date

Winter 2017

Course Type

Advanced Graduate Studio

Course Description

In this design activism studio, landscape architecture designers based in Seattle collaborated with Painted Dog Research Trust in Zimbabwe and the Sizinda community to design options for the campus’ future development. Students designed a bioremediation wetland landscape to treat wastewater within the campus that will serve as a basis for transferable technologies to be shared and implemented in surrounding communities. Seattle-based practitioners and local connections to Zimbabwe and sub-Saharan Africa will be leveraged within the studio to inform and support student learning. Students will explore design research and real-world participatory design methodologies to communicate and engage with PDRT and its community. This studio will develop designs with PDRT in Zimbabwe and Sizinda community members that will be actionable and applicable to the future sustainability of a challenged and complex environment in Zimbabwe.

Cultural Design Studio 2016

In Autumn 2016, the LA 403 Cultural Design Studio in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington examined land conservation practices in the 21 st century. With rapid urbanization occurring across the Seattle metropolitan region, the focus of the class was to generate and explore design and planning strategies that would effectively serve to integrate conservation priorities with recreational needs.

A site-based studio, the class worked with the 86-acre Wayne Golf Course, located in the City of Bothell. The golf course is located in a steep valley bottom and straddles the Sammamish River for nearly ½ a mile. Aside from the golf course and its associated facilities, the property also contains an historic farmhouse and apple orchard, and is one of the last large undeveloped private properties in the immediate area.

The private owner has recently sold the property to the local conservation organization Forterra, which is teaming with the City of Bothell, and community organizations such as OneBothell to raise funds to transfer ownership into public holdings, and to develop design and management strategies for future use that will likely not include its historic use. The primary focus of these groups has been to prioritize conservation strategies that would serve to improve the ecological conditions of the river and adjacent floodplain. Yet recognizing the need for both active and passive recreation in this rapidly developing area, the partners initiated a public visioning process that included stakeholder groups and individuals from around the area to identify both the constraints and opportunities offered by the property.

As a result, a detailed draft Vision Plan was produced that provides details for areas on the property that are best suited for habitat restoration and open space conservation, while further identifying locations of higher intensity recreation. Working in conjunction with fundraising opportunities, the next phase of the project is to further develop site analysis and program refinement in the production of a series of master plan scenarios to be further vetted by community input. Working with these partners the studio was developed to further refine and advance current design uses and visions for the property.

Porous Public Space

Course Instructors

Jim Nicholls

Nancy Rottle

Course Date

Autumn 2016

Course Type

Advanced Graduate Studio

Course Description

The City of Copenhagen is currently focusing on three primary initiatives: urban renewal for select identified neighborhoods; climate adaptation interventions to alleviate flooding, heat island, and biodiversity impacts; and incorporation of urban nature – with integration of these three initiatives as an overarching goal.

For the 2016 Scan|Design Master Studio we worked with these objectives in mind, on a Copenhagen district and site surrounding an existing and expanding transit hub for the “S” commuter train, new Metro, major bus stop, and bicycle superhighway. The intersection also serves as a cultural, community gathering, and shopping center for the surrounding population, comprised of a changing mix of immigrants, gypsies, students, and ethnic Danes. We applied site program ideas from our travels, including studies of transit centers, “cloudburst” (stormwater) management approaches, cultural facilities, streets and bicycle infrastructure, markets, parks and gardens. Guided by principles developed by Gehl Architects, and their offspring of Schulze + Grassov, we considered approaches to cultivate and enrich public life — both moving through, and staying in, the public realm of streets, plazas, markets and leftover spaces of this site. Additionally, we worked at district, site and detail scales to use urban design to address climate change impacts, through:

• addressing social and cultural needs and amenities to cultivate social resilience
• exploring opportunities to insert urban nature for biodiversity resilience and human health; and
• artfully integrating water into the cityscape for hydraulic function and human
delight.

During the term, our Master Studio benefited from the involvement of Louise Grassov, formerly with Gehl Architects and now with her own firm, Schulze + Grassov. Throughout the quarter, we reflected upon the Copenhagen study tour by referenced examples from our travels while employing and expanding on Gehl’s and Shulze + Grassov’s public life / public space principles.

Project webpage

Big Ideas | Small(er) Intervention

Course Instructor

Julie Parrett

Course Date

Autumn 2016

Course Type

Advanced Graduate Studio

Course Description

Working with the Office of the Waterfront and Friends of Waterfront Seattle, students were challenged to develop projects to activate the Seattle Waterfront during the cold, dark, and rainy months from October to May. Projects ranged from modest art interventions that revealed latent narratives to projects that provided sheltered gathering spaces to wayfinding and play spaces. Students presented to a jury composed of City officials and design professionals who selected two projects that expressed creativity, a unique relationship to the site, connected to the dynamic qualities of weather, light, tides and temperature of Seattle’s winter.

2016 Puget Sound VA Hospital

The Garden of Earth and Sky: A Therapeutic Garden for the Puget Sound Veteran’s Affairs Hospital

From the restlessness of working in a hectic environment, to the lingering wait of an unknown diagnosis, the stress of the hospital setting creates need for green refuge. This garden is for all who need a moment of peace and a breath of fresh air.

The Garden of Earth and Sky is a 2016 capstone design build project for the Puget Sound Veteran’s Affairs Hospital.
A team of 28 students designed and constructed the garden over the course of six months. Located in a courtyard near the main entrance and emergency room, the site will serve patients, family, and staff. Many of these patients suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other stress-related symptoms.

The concept of the design is to reorient one’s position in relation to the sky and earth, reconnecting users to the greater natural landscape. Plantings and materials were chosen to reflect the Pacific Northwest landscape through native plants, wood structures, basalt stones and blue stone paving. A seamless transition was created between the garden and hospital, revealed in the seating, paving, and geometry of the site.

The experiences of veterans are both profound and varied, producing a complex range of illnesses that the design group had little understanding of. In order to determine how the garden could address them, information was gathered on multiple levels, including surveys, visual preference boards, and personal letters written by veterans from as early as the Civil War. The team also collaborated with occupational therapy students from the University of Western Michigan, led by Professor Amy Wagenfeld, who were essential in providing guidelines for the design to be comfortable and universally accessible.

The design is centered around two spaces, the Sky Room and Earth Room, which respectively provide areas for socialization and introspection. Plantings help create an escape from the sterile hospital interior. The earth room green wall was additionally conceived as an opportunity for horticultural therapy in a small space, which research has found to be particularly therapeutic for veterans. An opening along the bottom of the wall allows wheelchair users to touch plants without their legs having to be uncomfortably parallel to the wall. As the site is a courtyard space flanked by a series of floor-to ceiling windows along its border, one of the main goals was to use screening to enhance a sense of privacy while also offering a pleasant view from the indoors. The principle of universal design was applied throughout our garden to ensure it could be enjoyed by all. Pathways, furniture, and structures were all designed to be wheelchair-accessible, and careful consideration was made to ensure there were no triggers of mental illnesses within the garden.

The garden was completed in June 2016, with the hope that it will be a respite of healing and beauty in the hospital for years to come.

Read The Seattle Times’ report on the project: VA hospital’s healing garden is a refuge from ravages of war, illness.

Cultivating Community at the Cascade P-Patch

Course Instructors

Eric Higbee

Course Date

Spring 2016

Course Type

Advanced Graduate Studio

Course Description

This studio focused on community-based design processes and the complexities of urban agricultural landscape design. Students immersed themselves in the theory and practice of the burgeoning urban agricultural movement, and they toured a variety of Seattle sites and meet the people behind them.

The site is Cascade P-Patch in Seattle’s Cascade Neighborhood, a complex urban site with adjacency to a proposed green street, playground, park and youth facility. Students learned about best practices for participatory design, and then planned and conducted a community workshop with the P-Patch gardeners. The community’s feedback was a starting point for individual or group studio site design projects. Final designs were presented back to the community, and assembled in a booklet for their use.