500 Studio: Central District Oct10


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500 Studio: Central District

The Autumn 500 studio is a convergence of both three and two year students creating an exciting mixture of new and old faces and addresses urban planning  issues within a design context. This quarter, the ARCH 500 studio is designing a medium sized institutional building in the Central District. The site encompasses the area between Boren Ave. and 20th on the west and east and E Fir and Jackson on the north and south. It is a site that is currently undergoing major shifts in population, the controversial rebuilding of Yesler Terrace, and the installation of the new streetcar line.

We began the quarter in groups examining the site through many different lenses and contexts. We”ve now broken into larger urban design groups, each using our individual expertise about the site to begin to craft our urban design proposals based on the goals and priorities of the program and our institutes. Because of the size of these groups, I have often found our biggest problem is trying to balance schedules while also trying to make progress during group sessions. Getting so many people to agree is not easy!

For many of us, designing an institutional building of this size is not nbso online casino reviews new, however the extent to which the urban context has had to be accounted for is. It has been interesting to create an overarching concept for a large urban site, while simultaneously designing our individual institutes. In addition, we’re taking Arch 590, Urban Design & Historic Preservation, the concurrent class taught by Jeffrey Ochsner, where we”ve had to read the seminal urban design books Life and Death of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs, The Image of the City by Kevin Lynch, and The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces by William H. Whyte. At any given time, a Jane Jacobs idea will all of a sudden come up in conversation so much so that she has gotten to be like an old friend. My design process is constantly being challenged by the theories we learn in class, the critiques by our professors, and the numerous guest panels we”ve had who”ve offered so many differing opinions and perspectives on the site, it’s strengths and its weaknesses. With a site so vast and different, both in density and population, the spectrum of design solutions at the end of the quarter should be varied and complex in their analysis, but also really compelling and tailored to our interests.

Written by Kristopher Chan

Collaborative group work


Architectural Context


Building Consolidation – Land Use


Historic building on the site – Notable for its dramatic Renaissance Revival ornament, The St.George Hotel was built in 1910. For over fifty years it has been the home of the Seattle Urban League. The Urban League’s mission is to empower, enable, and assist African Americans, other people of color and disadvantaged individuals in becoming self-sufficient.


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