Commute challenge month comes to a close

It was a grueling month of May for Weber Thompson’s 21 Bike to Work Commute Challenge competitors. Combined, they rode over 3,071 miles with an impressive 81.1% of the month riding into work.

Paired into 3 teams, competition took over the office between the Draft Punks, Jintensha Ninjas, and the Rushin’ Roulettes to see who would take the top prize. Throughout the month, there were ninjas at staff meetings hiding in the rafters, waiting to strike with their stealthy design skills. A revolution was declared in the form of libations for the masses by the Rushin’ Roulettes and the Draft Punk team hacked into the network to declare their dominance by changing everyone’s desktop background. But in the end, it was the ability to ride as much as possible to and from work that proved who reigned supreme.

The 2014 winners are: Continue reading



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Meet the Staff: Gerald Heizelman

Gerald Heizelman is well respected for his attention to detail, which he has honed over the course of 25 years in the field. He’s an easy going guy and is an asset to Weber Thompson’s high rise team.  Learn more about Gerald on our website

 

 

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Weber Thompson staff take to two wheels

In and around Seattle, sedan owners, bus commuters and weary walkers are all donning their neon yellow jackets, fingerless gloves, and padded shorts and taking to two wheels to participate in the annual Commute Challenge, known colloquially as Bike to Work month. During the challenge, gangs of around eight riders team up to compete against other groups around the region. Scores are tallied based on number of rides, number of miles ridden, and rate of ridership, all logged and calculated through the Commute Challenge website.At Weber Thompson, the challenge is a much-anticipated opportunity for heated intra-office competition. Riders are separated into three teams, each of which assumes a team name and identity, creates a logo, brand, and various propaganda to win the popularity of their competing, and non-competing coworkers.

Weber Thompson hosted a Bike to Work Day breakfast for all bicycle commuters as a way to encourage and celebrate commuting without fossil fuels.

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Beignets and green buildings: the Greenbuild Program Working Group retreat

By Myer Harrell AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Earlier this month I spent a few days in New Orleans, and not just for the beignets at Cafe Du Monde (although I had some of those, too). This was a retreat with the Greenbuild Program Working Group (PWG), which “oversees the development and delivery of educational programming intended to meet the needs of attendees to the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo,” the US Green Building Council’s annual conference since 2002. As a Silver member company of USGBC, Weber Thompson boasts thirty-five LEED APs and GAs out of fifty-eight employees; a number of whom have attended multiple Greenbuilds.

The session selection process is rigorous; there are at least four rounds of review each year before the 100+ educational sessions are finalized. The first round is a raw score by volunteers on an online platform (the call for this usually goes out around Greenbuild each year, so mark your calendar for November 2014 to apply). The second round is a qualitative review by subject matter experts, facilitated by the PWG. The third round is amongst PWG members who meet in person in Spring in the host city of Greenbuild. Continue reading



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Meet the Staff: Mindy Black

Mindy Black will be celebrating her 15th anniversary at Weber Thompson this September. Promoted to Senior Associate in 2007, Mindy oversees all phases of design and construction in a variety of project types including urban mixed-use, senior and affordable housing and attached single-family homes within planned communities. Although she spends countless long days ushering her projects to completion, she somehow manages to find time to pursue artistic and outdoor activities, as well as serve as the Chair of Seattle’s West Design Review Board. Continue reading



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The Terry Thomas engages tenants to reduce energy use

Entrance wall at The Terry Thomas

The green building movement has been learning a valuable lesson in recent years – regardless of plaques and certifications, a sustainable building requires participation and engagement from tenants, visitors and management.

This lesson is being put to work at The Terry Thomas. While the building has historically used about 50% less energy than a comparable building, in its sixth birthday Stephen Grey & Assoc., the property manager, and Weber Thompson are launching an awareness campaign aimed at engaging tenants and visitors, with a goal of decreasing the building’s energy usage another 17% between 2013 and 2015.

There are two key components to this new campaign. The first is tracking utility data (electricity and natural gas aggregated with EPA’s online tool EnergyStar Portfolio Manager, normalized for weather) and sharing this data in a public place with the tenants of the building each quarter. Continue reading



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Increasing Seattle’s share of families

Photo by Karen Halbert Photography.

 

Seattle has been called “a childless city.”* Of major cities in the United States, Seattle has nearly the lowest rate of households with children (19%) – only San Francisco is lower. If, as Carlos Pena, the former mayor of Bogotá said, “Children are the indicator species of the health of a community,” could it be that our low rate indicates something is wrong?

In late 2011, the Seattle Planning Commission, on which I serve, produced an in-depth report on the status of affordable housing in Seattle. One of the biggest findings was the lack of housing available for low and middle-income families with children; only 2% of rentals had three or more bedrooms. In addition, 70% of single-family homes for sale are unaffordable to those making a working wage, considered up to 120% of area median income.

Following up on this finding, in January 2014 the Seattle Planning Commission released “Family Sized Housing – an Essential Ingredient to Attract and Retain Families with Children.” This white paper is an action agenda with 11 key recommendations. It proposes a variety of land use changes, tools and incentives geared toward creating more variety in housing types to serve a broad mix of incomes, citywide.

Why does this matter?  Continue reading



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Meet the Staff: Amanda Baker

Back in November, the Weber Thompson interior design team welcomed a new Interior Designer, Amanda Baker, to the team. We’re thrilled that she’s a familiar face (Bernadette worked with her at another firm) and that she brings a background in hospitality, commercial interiors, and residential design. We sat down with her to learn a little more about her background, what inspires her, and her current obsessions. Continue reading



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Letting in the light: an update from Sunset Electric

It’s been about a year since we’ve posted an update about our project at 11th and East Pine Street in Capitol Hill. Sunset Electric – named after the original 1926 structure which once housed an auto electrical supply showroom (and later a sporting goods store and an auto spray shop) – is roughly two-thirds through construction.

Demolition (see our previous post about the project) took us through February of this year, and the laborious process of reinforcing the existing historic structure spanned about four months. Now, five new levels are rising above the existing Sunset Electric facade.

We had an Owner/Architect/Contractor (OAC) coordination meeting a while back and took the opportunity to snap a few photos to share an update. The project includes a variety of interesting techniques and methods that you don’t see every day, so it’s a great example of the extra effort and coordination required for a project of this type.

And now, may the virtual tour begin: Continue reading



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Sharing lessons and successes from SKTOD

Parking Garage at SKTOD designed by Weber Thompson.

Planners, Architects, and Developers came together yesterday in Bellevue to hear WT Senior Associate, Mindy Black, present at the Washington APA conference. The session was a panel presentation about the South Kirkland Transit Oriented Development and included three other speakers: Gary Prince, King County Metro TOD Manager; Janice Coogan, Senior Planner with the City of Kirkland; and Paul Inghram, Comprehensive Planning Manager for the City of Bellevue. Continue reading



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