Here Comes the Neighborhood Sep20

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Here Comes the Neighborhood

This is a photo update on some of the UW construction activity happening in the vicinity of Architecture’s home base in Gould Hall. I sent it originally on Sept 18 to my “Loop Group” list serve, and now I’m sharing it with a larger audience via this new departmental blog. Click on photos to see them larger.

Diagonally across from Gould Hall, the entire block is now being filled by a single building called Alder Hall, one of four new student residence halls designed by Mahlum Architects. Two of these new buildings just opened (Poplar Hall and Cedar Hall), and the other two are under construction, opening in Fall 2012 (Alder Hall and Elm Hall).

The Bar Code Buildings

The distinctive common feature to all four new buildings is their stark black & white “bar code” exterior treatment, comprised of a purple-black brick and white window frames. I guess it connotes hi-tech. To see it clearly, squint at the attached photo of the Poplar Hall elevation, and the bar codes pop out.

When the cladding was first revealed on Poplar and Cedar Halls, I was deeply suspicious, but now I’m beginning to like it. Whether or not you like the bar code look, you will like the generous use of wood and metal at street level. Very stylish.

A New Campus Parkway

Three of the new Bar Code buildings face NE Campus Parkway, and the fourth is just a block away. They are branding the neighborhood with their common look. More significantly they will greatly increase the social density along Campus Parkway. Already with just two of the new halls open, there is a noticeable increase in the pedestrian activity in this otherwise dull edge of the campus.

The “Campus Parkway to Nowhere” still won’t go anywhere, but at least it might become a “Somewhere” in its own right.

Pedestrian & Bicyclist Safety

There have been a rash of fatal bicyclist accidents in Seattle, most recently on Sept. 10 at U-Way and Campus Parkway where there was car-bike collision. Here’s a summary of the various accidents reported by The Seattle Times.

The police have not yet released a report on the Campus Parkway fatality, other than to identify the victim (Robert Townsend) and to say that the car’s driver was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Other media have reported the bicyclist was the fastest sandwich delivery cyclist at the Jimmy John’s sandwich shop two blocks uphill of the crash site. “He was twice as fast” as any other delivery cyclist, said one of the managers.  Outside the store they still proudly advertise “Freaky Fast Delivery.”

So that’s what Robert Townsend was doing at 6 pm on Sept 10: going downhill on University Way making a freaky fast delivery. For what happened next….we’ll have to wait until the police make their report public.

Mercer Hall Demolition

Say goodbye to the most hated dorms on campus. The buildings certainly looked nice in their red brick coats, but I guess the freshmen who got stuck there did not like being so isolated from the rest of the campus, among other things. So UW is tearing down the old Mercer Hall to be replaced with a new Mercer Hall, opening in Fall 2013.

Ethnic Cultural Center Demolition

The U.W. Ethnic Cultural Center on Brooklyn at NE 40th was recently demolished to make way for the new Ethnic Cultural Center.

That’s all for now. More to come later in the year.

John Stamets is Lecturer in Photography who shoots professionally both in large format 4×5″ film and digital SLR. He is especially interested in construction photography as an historic record of our time. This blog post was originally sent out to one of his popular list serves, or Loop Groups. Among the construction projects he is currently photographing are: 1) the Bullitt Center for Sustainable Design; 2) the UW Molecular Engineering Building; 3) the ­new South Park Bridge; and 4) the rehabilitation of King Street Station.

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