How Rube!

Weber Thompson Parking Day

Once again Weber Thompson commandeered the parking spots across from our building and created a park-like oasis with an attraction that drew the crowds. For our third year participating in the nationwide event, Park(ing) Day, our eager, dedicated team ran with the concurrent Seattle Design Festival theme, ‘Design in Motion,’ creating an interactive Rube Goldberg machine that dispensed a prize to each lucky player.

Entitled ‘Why you Gotta be so Rube?’ the contraption incorporated cardboard tubes, presentation easels, material samples and furniture and carpets donated by The Mohawk Group, Bennett Associates Inc., Resource 3 Northwest, and Workpointe. Starting with the pop of a Jack in the box, a ball was launched through a series of tubes, knocking a 3Form sample off balance, releasing another ball, activating a domino chain, knocking over a weighted bucket, triggering a pulley which released a Luchador bottle opener down a zipline that tipped a blazing orange pencil down a tube where it was delivered to willing participants.

The installation drew large crowds of neighborhood workers, and was especially flooded at lunch time by Amazon and Group Health employees wrangling for their own pencil delivery.

Design in Public, a local supporter of Park(ing) Day, selected Weber Thompson as the recipient of the ‘Most Unique’ Park(ing) Day installation award. We couldn’t be happier, and are currently planning next year. Hot air balloon rides anyone?

For a full list of winners, visit the Design in Public website.

More images, and a video of the Rube in action, visit our Facebook page.



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Meet the Staff: Rachael Bauer

Rachael-Bauer-web

Rachael Bauer is a valued member of the Interior Design team at Weber Thompson. She recently received her NCIDQ certification, and is participating in planning for this year’s Park(ing) Day. We chatted with her to learn more about her background, her inspirations, and her upcoming travel plans.

 

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Sunset Electric awarded LEED Platinum certification

Sunset-Electric-4-Weber-Thompson

Sunset Electric has been awarded LEED for Homes Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council! This is currently the highest possible LEED certification for environmental responsibility and efficiency.

Developed by The Wolff Company, this 92 unit mixed use apartment project has garnered buzz for its innovative, sustainable design and incorporation of the original 1916 structure’s large brick façade, reflective of Capitol Hill’s auto-row heritage. The building’s strong leasing rates bear out its success; over 70% of the units are occupied. Continue reading



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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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