Info Session Monday, November 22nd for Scandanavian Study Abroad opportunities.
LARCH 598 + 702
Learn more about the liquid lands studio and the rest of the Cartographic Imaginations studio series at imaginations.hive.be.uw.edu.
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.
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:
- exploring opportunities to insert urban nature for biodiversity resilience and human health
- addressing social and cultural needs and amenities to cultivate social resilience
- artfully integrating water into the cityscape for hydraulic performance, urban nature and human delight
During our 2015 studio, we worked with ILFI’s framework and the organization’s designated First Hill Living Community. We applied the framework to a subdistrict and site that is adjacent to Bailey Gatzert Elementary School, and at the nexus of several diverse urban communities: the Squire Park Neighborhood, Little Saigon, Yesler Terrace, a substantial homeless population, Seattle University, and numerous ethnic populations. Our ScanlDesign Master Studio was inspired by Copenhagen’s approach to neighborhood “lifting” by providing arts and cultural facilities in every neighborhood for all ages, and the city’s approach to conjoin climate resilience with cultivation of a good and equitable city. We applied site program ideas from our travels, including inspiration from Copenhagen’s children’s arts centers, vertical schools, urban productive gardens, and “cloudburst” parks. The studio’s project site and surrounding neighborhood in the First Hill district is destined to change in the next decades as the neighborhood intensifies, with streets already beginning to accommodate bicycles, pedestrians, and trolley transit, and the studio therefore considered the public life — both moving through and staying in — in the public realm of streets, parks and leftover spaces. The final studio work included design at all scales and show detailed and integrated resolution at the levels of district, site, and building.
Our studio had a unique opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration, and students from various disciplines worked together to analyze, conceptualize, and develop integrated and comprehensive designs throughout the term. During the term, our Master Studio benefited from the involvement of Bianca Hermansen, formerly with Gehl Architects and now with her own firm, Cititek. Throughout the quarter, we built on our Copenhagen study tour by referencing examples from our travels and employing and expanding on Gehl’s public life/public space principles. We also benefited from the interaction with ILFI staff, professionals and community interests.