Page N1.2 . 06 December 2006                     
ArchitectureWeek - News Department
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Seattle Design Awards 2006


The new school expands learning beyond the classroom by connecting educational pedagogy with environmental sustainability at every level including indoor environmental quality, land use and site ecology, water and energy conservation, and appropriate material use.

Looking inward, the natural environment also extends into the school's two central courtyards. These "outdoor classrooms" expose students to art, native plants, elements of the region's hydrologic processes, and subtle environmental variations in sun, wind, rain and shadows.

The functional ecosystem of the southern courtyard makes these natural processes visible. A water feature fed by rain collected from the roof and an integrated art installations enhance the experience.

To improve student performance, the school's design maximizes daylight and indoor air quality. The architects met an ambitious goal of 100-percent natural ventilation and daylighting in all teaching spaces. Energy analyses of the building envelope and HVAC systems predict the school design will perform 35 percent better than required by the state energy code.

According to the awards jury, Franklin School "enhances the learning experience of students and visitors through connection to the natural environment with nature further incorporated into the craft of the structures themselves."

Meritorious Architecture

In addition to the honor award, AIA Seattle presented nine awards of merit. Among these buildings are two performing arts centers by LMN Architects: the Lee Center for the Arts, for Seattle University, and McIntyre Hall Performing Arts and Conference Center, for Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, Washington.

The Lee Center is an adaptive reuse in an urban neighborhood, while McIntyre Hall is a new building, both designed on tight budgets. The jury described the latter as an admirable "procession of spaces that invite public participation and appreciation through an entry sequence from the street through an entry porch, on to the anteroom and lobby, and on to the performance space within."

In what the jury referred to as "a scale of development that will become increasingly universal in cities across the United States and the world," the Miller/Hull Partnership designed 156 West Superior Boulevard in Chicago as an infill apartment block. The project, for Ranquist Development Inc., "presents a light and hospitable face to the neighborhood," according to the jury.

The remaining built projects to receive merit awards are single-family houses. These are the Meadow Creek House in Seattle by Eggleston Farkas Architects; the Tyee River Cabin in Skykomish, Washington and Delta Shelter in Winthrop, Washington by Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects; and the Wong Eckles Residence in Haui, Hawaii by Cutler Anderson Architects.

Whether in a city, on a rugged hillside, deep in the woods, or on a tropical bluff, these houses are shaped by their physical environment, with a touch of light and grace. They are commended by the jury for their attention to detail and materials and as ideal representatives of the Northwest residential design.

Also receiving merit awards are two projects that are not yet built. Home Plate, by Mithun, is a mixed-use regeneration of an urban neighborhood in Seattle. The jury commented: "we especially remark the creation here of a system that rolls all around the block a large mass, but strongly reflecting the human scale of its various uses... skillful urban moves, to create a readily inhabitable city place."

Another project not yet built is the Norton Sound Regional Hospital for Nome Alaska by Mahlum Architects. This building reflects the stark and inhospitable terrain of its surroundings. The jury described it as an "appropriate structure manifesting a spiritual and emotional response to the land and the unique form of Northern civilization."

The AIA Seattle Awards Program jury was moderated by Daniel Friedman PhD, FAIA, dean of the University of Washington College of Architecture and Urban Planning and also included Ed Feiner, FAIA of SOM, Margaret Helfand, FAIA of Helfand Architecture, and James Timberlake, FAIA, of Kieran Timberlake.   >>>

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Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, designed by Mahlum Architects, received the only 2006 honor award from the Seattle AIA.
Photo: Benjamin Benschneider

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Two-story classroom wings reach toward the site's large wooded area.
Photo: Benjamin Benschneider

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Longitudinal section.
Image: Mahlum Architects

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Ground floor plan.
Image: Mahlum Architects

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Franklin School library.
Photo: Benjamin Benschneider

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The Lee Center for the Arts at Seattle University, by LMN Architects, received one of nine merit awards from the Seattle AIA.
Photo: LMN Architects

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McIntyre Hall Performing Arts and Conference Center, for Skagit Valley College, by LMN Architects.
Photo: Ed LaCasse/ LaCasse Photography

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Miller/Hull Partnership designed 156 West Superior Boulevard in Chicago as an infill apartment block.
Photo: Nic Lehoux


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