The Sunset Substation: a new pocket park for Seattle

We are very excited to begin a new project for the Sunset Hill neighborhood to transform an abandoned City Light substation parcel into a pocket park.  Based on the input from the community thus far, the program is very intriguing:  a community space with an artist-in-residence caretaker, powered by a serious photovoltaic array. There may be more or different elements as the project evolves in the community design process, and as we navigate through various City agencies and funding sources, but fundamentally this has all the values we expound as a firm:  sustainable building, energized public space, housing options/density, and  an interactive process that invests people in the civic life of their neighborhood.

In 2008, I designed a structure with a similar program for a Dwell Magazine conceptual competition:

Crissy Field House

Set at the east end of Crissy Field in San Francisco, this Community Room/Exhibit Hall creates an anchor for a new sculpture park. The hall is a multipurpose space, more infrastructure than building--for public events, private events, exhibits, etc. The glass sliding panels open the hall to the public, the park and the views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

A small caretaker's residence is situated on the second floor, using the broad roof of the Community Room as a vegetable garden, eliminating the conflict between the public park and the private residence. The glass screen walls provides security, and electricity--the design on the glass is created with a photovoltaic interlayer, which powers the house and hall. Stormwater is captured, stored and used to irrigate the roof garden.

While this little conceptual project may help to inform the Sunset Substation, I'm excited to apply some of this experience in designing a real world pocket park.

Stay tuned....

Interbay P-Patch published in new book

p-patch-book-cover We are very excited to see this survey of Seattle's urban community gardens, especially since the Interbay P-Patch is included as one of the case studies.  The P-Patch is one of my personal favorites because of the impact it has had in strengthening this vital community, and has been instrumental in showing other neighborhoods how to implement their own community garden.

Further, the P-Patch really showed us just how satisfying working on these small pro bono projects can be. Since the P-Patch, we'll donated about 5% of our yearly output to pro bono causes, including daycares, parks, and community centers and hope that we'll have more opportunities to help concerned citizen groups visualize and build a better city.

WASTE NOT--an installation in Pioneer Square Alley

alley The big opening is tonight from 5 to 9, between 1st and 2nd just south of Pioneer Square--

Yesterday we hoisted the installation in place. While we still have to do lighting, the impact is great! From the end of the alley, the installation looks like a lonely cloud hovering there, and only once you get beneath it can you see the message "WASTE NOT."

Nord Alley Party 5: Thursday November 3rd

alley installation--in process We are working on a collaborative art installation for the Nord Building's upcoming Alley Party, sponsored by two non-profits, Feet First and the International Sustainability Institute.

Feet First is an advocate for walkable communities, and ISI works on documenting global best practices for urban sustainability.  They have been working with their neighbors to transform alleys from nuisances to assets. Part of the program to invigorate the alleys as a vibrant urban places is their Alley Parties.  Each one incorporates art, music, food and drink to draw people into the alley and give people a different perspective on what they can become.

This Thursday, CAST, in collaboration with Christopher Ezzell of E Workshop, and Vashon Island artist Shahreyar Ataie,  will open an art installation that will float over their the Nord Building's section of alley, using about 600 recycled 2 liter bottles.   It will be up through the New Year.

So come one and all!  Did I mention there will be food, drink and music?

Alley between 1st and Second, just South of Occidential Park

314 First Avenue

November 3rd,  from 5 pm to 9 pm

sheep wool insulation!

This product isn't new, but new to us:  sheep wool insulation. Sheep wool insulation has some advantages over other forms of insulation, especially fiberglass batts.  It stays lofted, retains R-value even when there is moisture penetration.  It installs like fiberglass batts, but there are no masks, no off gassing, no itchiness.  Plus the product is all natural, and there aren't the environmental impacts of making fiberglass.

There are a couple big downsides:

1--this is not a local product, and there are carbon costs associated with bringing the insulation to our neck of the woods (although bringing together the elements to make fiberglass isn't carbon free either)

2--the cost is about $2.16 per sf, which is roughly three times the cost of fiberglass, or 50% more than spray foam.