Olympia Federal Exterior
November 8th 2013 we put on our best bib and tuck and went out to an open house celebrating Olympia Federal Savings west side branch remodel. It is not the first building we have worked with this amazing local bank, which continues to go GREENER AND GREENER and light up our community.
The bank has solar panels and heat pump and also lots and lots of solar tube lights which means that the lights rarely need to be turned on – they offer up so much natural light to the floor space, halls, and bathrooms. The new conference room is simply a delightful meeting space and the break room really provides for employee needs.
DUCT SOX were used through the building and they are something new for this writer. They are soft black fabric ducts which when inflated look like round cylinders and when not in use look like stunning valance covers for the computer generated blind system. Extremely quiet and attractive.
You can see them around the tops of the windows in this picture.
Olympia Federal Interior
We have always celebrated OLYMPIA FEDERAL SAVINGS AND LOAN and are proud of their integrity and huge community spirit. The materials used in the remodel are from our local area. The Contractors and workers are a part of our community. The Musicians at the reception were outstanding violin students from our local schools. Performances at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts are sponsored by our bank, as is our KIDS AT PLAY theater company and lots of local artists and businesses.
How honored we are to have such a fine community member and how honored we are that our architectural firm was chosen to design our Greenest!
Building came in under budget and ahead of schedule.
Yes we raise our glasses high in a toast to this fine business enterprise.
Do you have a business which truly celebrates your community and is GREEN?
Tue, November 12 2013 » Discoveries, Inspiration, Products » No Comments
There are moments in my life which are dull and grey or I feel envious of an others’ work or success, I believe everyone has these moments and they can rapidly fill up the pages of our thoughts and control our thinking. I do not wish to get stuck in these moments or walk them into dis-satisfaction or inertia. I often find doing something a bit out of the ordinary can spike the color right back into the rainbow of my activities and energies.
Architecture is often “feast or famine” work. There have been lots of days of famine in the field for the last few years, I must go further out on the limb and reach for something NEW to heighten my awareness and energies.
I purchased a new book about reinventing your business and this has been helpful.
I found these two posts on Facebook recently and they inspired me to stretch further – I thought they might stir your creative thinking a bit too as we enter Autumn’s turmoil and transitions?
Sometimes it seems as though things come with great difficulty, as though I must fight every inch of the way and yet gain little ground. Then I realize how my attempt at controlling things and the expectations I create are perpetuating this reality. At other times, when I follow an impulse that comes from deep within, I catch a glimpse (each time a bit longer in duration as I grow) and see things unfold in magnificent ways and almost without effort. All of this serves to remind me of how limited our perspective can be.
For as long as I can remember I have held the view that in order to achieve any worthwhile goal, I would have to work very hard. If I wanted to have enough free time and money so that I could do things I enjoy, then years of hard work and sacrifice would be a necessity. This deep-rooted belief has been part of how I have identified myself and how I wanted to be identified by others. I have now come to see that this is false, or perhaps backwards. Up until recent months I have lived like this: I must “have” this or that (money, time, job, or fill in the blank) so that I can do things that will help me “be” who I desire to be. What I have come to learn is quite the opposite. I must “be” first, then the “doing” and “having” will follow. There is work to be done, but it is inside of me.
If this makes sense to you, then maybe you’re in, or have been, in a similar place.
Keith on Facebook
The Keith’s Blog and Music: Straight Up Living
What do you do to stir your mind or activate the creative flow of your work?
Wed, September 25 2013 » Discoveries, Inspiration » No Comments
Mid July I was invited to a program on Eco – Districts and how the Living Building Challenge is progressing in our area of the country. It was an extremely informative learning experience and it was a dynamic call to educate the people here at home.
The Two BIG takeaways of the evening:
#1 It is human structures which are going to end our dependence on fossil fuels. NO GROUP OF PEOPLE LARGE ENOUGH TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE KNOWS THIS. Architecture 2030 is trying to get the word out but we need more local people becoming knowledgeable to change codes and elect the kinds of officials who can understand the largeness scope and can actively use collaboration.
Local people need to understand and we need to demand that local developers are held to a 97% compliance to standards and provisions before they receive a building permit. Local architects are the KEY to this and they need to be educating daily and have numbers in place for local folks to understand how many, many millions of dollars will be saved and made by these changes. Where are the Local architects doing this – how to do this – crucial? Are folks hearing the message? Are they numb?
#2 The United States and China are the worst offenders. 11 States in the USA do not even have significant energy codes. Only 100 architectural firms in the USA have signed on to learn about Living Building Challenge and the Educational Structures involved in that challenge. The financial crisis of 2008 and recently the small dip are the golden opportunity portals of GREEN work and Architects need to be a noisy gong and not work in old school systems and codes. They must not acquiesce to the client any more. This is a time for some of the most creative work and thinking available. One needs to actively counterbalance competition and compromise with COLLABORATION (know how to understand it and use it) It is the local people and the local architects which stand to benefit the most and make the most money as they liberate their community from toxins, to reduce high CO2 emissions, to keep their water clean and their citizen healthy.
EVERY PROJECT NEEDS TO BE 97% COMPLIANT.EVERY SINGLE PROJECT
There were 2 speakers presenting Eco- Districts information of projects under way in their cities Seattle and Portland.
Portland Sustainability Eco District project was presented by Clark Brockman of SERA
Mr. Brockman has 100% compliance with the business owners in the ROSE QUARTER DISTRICT of the City of Portland primary because the business owners can see how they will be making millions of dollars more from their properties and keeping water and air clean. The beginning changes in the wealthy CONDO district by the river have begun saving money and are keeping the aquifer and river unpolluted. With lots of education and proof in the numbers they are having celebrating their success at collaboration. It was inspiring.
From Capitol Hill Housing, Joel Sisolak is the Ecodistrict Project Director in Seattle.
Mr. Sisolak was able to show pictures of the changes to the street and drainage systems on Capitol Hill and the numbers in finely tuned detail of the difference in project costs and ongoing savings. Having 2 university campuses as a part of the Collaboration efforts has made a difference and already the dorm shower water is being used for the public gardens and toilet flushing. The grey water system is already in use and now they are adding the PURPLE WATER systems, which I am not sure I understand well enough to write about them here.
One of the points driven home to me by these presentations was that my community needs much more education on a person to person/project to project basis. We now have the numbers and some very tangible results to use to teach from and we just need to get the program together and put the show on the road – before the next election. Challenge the voters to think bigger and not be bought and sold a bill of goods by the fossil fuel fellows attempting to keep us ignorant and foolish.
IT IS OUR MONEY.
I was greatly inspired by the pictures from Sweden and Germany and all the progress those countries have made and how much money some communities have saved. One city in particular where all the public buildings (schools, courthouse, jail, hospital, etc.) produce all the power necessary to run the citizen’s homes was very inspiring. The people buy their public buildings, solar panels, wind mills, and safe building supplies and in return they pay no utility bills at all. The savings in CO2 emissions is profound.
Taking On the Challenge
Net Zero Housing
Thoughts about Coal Plants and Energy
When Women Were Birds (Patricias Wisdom)
Crucial ? at the top of the page. And what do you want to say?
Sun, August 18 2013 » Discoveries » No Comments
Near to the 4th of July celebration for a number of years now my bicycle riding buddies and I have done an 86 mile day ride to PT. Defiance on Puget Sound and nearby Tacoma, Washington. There is a huge park at the Point and also the Zoo. When we rode into the park this year, THE TASTE OF TACOMA fair was in progress.
John, Dave, Paul, Stephen and I, made the ride this year and we took all the back roads and enjoyed so many great views. There are a couple of good hills that one must muster. Even with growing up just 45 miles away, Dave had never been to Pt. Defiance before. It was nice to see our journey with fresh eyes.
We usually stop in Steilacoom near the ferry terminal to have lunch and we did just that this year also. I think we were having such a good time this added 90 minutes to our adventure. Yummy food too for hungry riders!
On the actual 4th of July we are gathering for a BBQ with our families and that will be fun also. We are going to take Yakima Organic Cherries to the festivities – Rainiers and Bings
Do you have a favorite ride or a traditional ride that you do with your team or family? Do you think 86 miles is a good day’s ride?
STP 2013 is on the 13th of JULY – I am nearly ready to go. Already done a couple 126 mile day rides. I think I will do the STP 204 in about 13 hours – if we do not have blistering hot weather. This is how I have celebrated my birthday for the past 14 years.
Cycling the STP and Hiking the trails
Reentry – 5 Lessons Learned
Wed, July 3 2013 » On the Road » No Comments
I am training for my 15th ride in the STP, or SEATTLE TO PORTLAND Bicycle Classic of 204 miles on July 13, 2013. Once again I am working on making it a one day ride and I am not riding with a team or a family member. There will be about 8,000 at the start point, so I will not be alone.
I have just completed my first Century training ride and am hoping to do a few more miles, maybe 125 this weekend. The weather is holding out for great possibilities.
Also my daughter and I have been planning a birthday/vacation hike for about 10 days at the end of July.
We submitted reservations for the Wonderland Trail but did not make the lottery cut. Disappointed we got out the map and started studying different routes and finally settled on doing the hike from the Canadian Border following along beside Ross Lake in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area. Maps and videos are found with this link which we are enjoying exploring.
One of us had to get new hiking boots and now need to break them in, and the other has a new backpack. We are filling them full and walking to work every day to prepare. Also we are both running to keep our legs in shape. I think it is going to be quite the adventure.
We found a source of Gluten Free hiking foods on line.
This is how we love to celebrate our birthdays: My daughter is also having a picnic with friends in a park in San Francisco to celebrate and my Portland daughter is hosting me after the STP and then going camping with her friends for her birthday.
How do you celebrate your birthday? Do you like to be in Nature?
I think it is a good thing for an architect, a software engineer, and a librarian to get outside and touch base with the lessons of nature – a true dose of Vitamin N makes for a healthy new year.
More adventures in Nature:
First 100 mile ride in 2011
Cascades and Siskiyou Mountain Pass Biking Tour 2011
Fall Tour- Columbia Basin 1012
Mon, June 10 2013 » On the Road » No Comments
Raising Elijah-Protecting our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis
The other day I was watching a movie and had arrived at the part where the female and male leads are having a heart to heart conversation about their failed communications during the previous 50 minutes of the reel and the young man says, “What is it that women want?” and the young woman replies, “Here’s the secret – they do not know what they want.”
Some of that statement might be true, and I think we believe it because we have heard that answer so many times during so many movies, but I do not necessarily think it is even 75% the right answer.
So many of my workshops begin with an exercise where the participants take out a sheet of paper and write down 100 things they know how to do…..Most get to about 20 before I have to give them a hint such as: tie your shoes, drive a car, twist your tongue, or what color is a fit for you.
After they get the hint, their pencils just fly and most folks get to at least 75 before times up.
When we ask the question, ‘What do women want?’ we need to put it into a context and make it smaller or categorize the possible answers to see that there is a clear message – especially when those women have children to consider.
Recently, I heard Sandra Steingraber, biologist, writer, mother, and activist, share her story on Bill Moyer’s and Company. On a program called, THE TOXIC ASSAULT ON OUR CHILDREN , Steingraber was exceeding clear about what women want and she was going to be locked in jail the very next day for stating clearly and acting on her beliefs on behalf of all children. She is very clear and poignant about her facts and actions.
Women want love, respect, safety and protection, health, meaningful endeavors and to be heard. When they are not heard, they take these issues into their own hands and create a healthy environment for themselves and their children. We create BUBBLES of security by shopping for organic foods, leaving toxic relationships. and keeping our kids off sugar and drugs while helping them to learn and be their best.
When we know what to do we do it; when we understand women strive to accomplish it.
It is time now to step out of the BUBBLE of Security and create a Global environment for everyone. We need to see that there is a great deal of TOXIC TRESSPASS going on and we need to educate ourselves and others to issues like how the Gulf Oil spill has damaged the seafood supply – yep we can just make sure we don’t purchase Gulf seafood ( 75% of our seafood comes from the Gulf in the USA) or we can go vegetarian, but then we have to know about GMO foods and pesticides – yep we can go organic but without labeling and with the factory farms and Monsanto having all the money, well this maybe a dying possibility in the very near future. And with coal trains and their health hazards and carbon dioxide problems and fracking destroying our ground water, What’s a mother to do?
Get out of the bubble, learn everything you are able to learn and then take to the streets and raise your voices. Go to your legislature, write to Congress and your representative and raise money for re-election campaigns so that those folks are not dependent on the Greedy few. Make the architects in your community share their knowledge and what they are doing with all their LEED knowledge. Do a LIVING BUILDING PROJECT create a model environment in your neighborhood – teach others.
94% of the Architects in Washington State do not want coal exports here or processing. Did you know that? When they lost their candidate for Governor on this issue, the Koch Brothers are now using a new tactic to make their wants come true and make more money. They appear to be the true EARTH TERRORISTS.
What do women want? Clean air and food and a future earth for their children and generations beyond.
Get out of the BUBBLE, it’s the sexy and right thing to do.
Wed, May 1 2013 » Reading » No Comments
Recently we attended a photo lecture called National Geographic LIVE! Jodi Cobb was sharing her photographs from her tenure on staff at the magazine – the only women photographer for many years.
Her work is stunning. Her lecture was about getting us to be aware of what was really there in her journey and in the photograph. Secret worlds and mysterious images allowed her words to enable us to see the details what were not revealed earlier. Our blindness.
“For her book Geisha: The Life, the Voices, the Art, Cobb entered another world closed to outsiders, the geisha of Japan. She was also given special access to photograph inside a different sort of closed world, the ill-fated Gore presidential campaign of 2000.” (From National Geographic website)
We remembered the picture of the Geisha’s perfect heart lips first thing, the survivor’s story, and then decided that was because it was hard seeing all the other pictures of child slavery and sex slaves and the horrid conditions they worked within; often their parents or families not knowing where they were sold. Those photographs invaded our thinking.
This was the second program on present day slavery, I had attended.
Then I saw the pictures of the Oil Sands pipeline rupture in Arkansas and realized that I had heard the phrase THIS IS THE TIME TO END OUR DEPENDANCE ON FOSSIL FUELS AND RADICALLY CHANGE OUR SOURCES OF ENERGY – WE MUST BE INVOLVED IN CLIMATE CHANGE RECOVERY IMMEDIATELY.
The photographer, the news, and the discussions all produced the dramatic need for immediate change and that the pollution was out of control – often a mystery or secret we were unaware of until it is unmasked before our eyes.
We need to educate our clients about when we are using toxic materials or problematic materials and we need to not use these Products any more:
- No Added Formaldehyde
- Halogenated Flame Retardants
- Neoprene (chloroprene)
- Chlorinated Polyethylene and Chlorosulfonated Polyethlene
- Wood treatments containing Creosote, Arsenic or Pentachlorophenol
Do our Clients know? Do folks in our communities know? Do we know? Are we trying to address this problem? Have we developed a new product? Have we found companies that are aware and creating new products to use? Are we educating people – especially children about what we can do and change?
I am learning to read labels differently in my work and how to share and inform. I no longer compromise with many of these items. The time is now.
Jodi Cobb’s website and pictures
Design With Life In Mind
Thu, April 4 2013 » Inspiration » No Comments
On a recent sunny winter’s day we traveled to Eastern Washington to visit a family member. We loved seeing the folks skiing in the passes, hiking with sleds and some with horses as we traveled along. Wind farms abound on the hill sides and the gorge. As we entered the apple growing valley and approached the Columbia River we saw all the frost turbines in the orchards and hundreds of folks in the sunshine pruning the row after row of orchard trees and grape vines. There were some burning the limbs and some folks bundling them and packing them up; fascinating.
The Rivers presented a spectacular panorama surrounded by the snowy bare foothills.
There seemed to be something missing and it took us until we helped take out the garbage to figure it out. We did not see any solar panels in this sunny, warm spot on our planet. Well they are located not far from one of the largest Dams in our world? Hmmmm? We also did not see any recycling cans or collection boxes, or carts, or bins – all of that was missing. We found it very irritating and harmful to our earth and we made a judgment call which was very negative.
Our home town is working towards ZERO garbage in the very near future. We developed one of the most amazing recycling programs in the State and for a short period of time in the whole USA. It has taken years and hours of education, and not all our neighbors are compliant but there is evidence of our hard efforts very visible everywhere. And in our rainy clime, solar panels abound – our local company is even solarizing folk’s electric cars.
On to the Internet, and we searched the City we had just visited and did find a recycling day set aside this spring – in a parking lot and there was a recycling center listed which was going to pick up what people brought by and the limits of tires and appliances posted.
In our mind, this was not enough. So we deepened the search and we found some good news. The City was just finishing up a Sustainable Study Grant from the AIA International and Seattle chapters and although they had not posted the outcomes yet, it had resulted in a new community center for the Southern Section of the City, which was in desperate need. They have some plans of action outlined, but no more results listed. We were hoping the outcomes would create a smaller cultural divide and less separate but attempting to be equal opportunity? Sustainable?
Whew! We relaxed our judging position and sprinkled into our minds some positive buzz. We are still disappointed that we could not find any evidence online of Organic farming or recycling, or even carbon understanding. What were they spraying those orchards with and did anyone care? How was it affecting and effecting the citizens and the minorities. How was this impacting the health of the community and the city? It seemed as though we needed to make our study more personal.
I looked up our City’s RUDAT study from 1979, which I was a noted volunteer on the project. All the drawings and recommendations are in place and wow was it a change artist for our city and wow has that AIA study and the architects in our community made great connections and communications happen. It is impressive what has been accomplished and the rewards in our life that have come about.
(I will say that the latest City Council seems to be ignoring the recommendations of that study – and maybe we need a fresher study as a new base? I am judging again, I do not think folks care right now.)
Architects have a powerful role to play in our future. I just went to look at LIFE OF AN ARCHITECTS blog about his 24 favorite Architectural Blogs to read and was very judgmental again. There was so little there about products and climate change and how architects can truly educate and be models for amelioration. 24 blogs was a lot of reading; I was disappointed….I will just have to keep deepening my search, because I find it disheartening and discouraging that what I am reading is the same fear found in US vs. Them thinking and our Federal Government. This is an opportunity for architects to be leaders/educators – not just following the norms and trends; the 1940s revisited?
Every building should be NET ZERO at the minimum…
What do you think?
That Funny Picture in Discoveries
Net Zero Energy Homes
Thu, March 7 2013 » Discoveries » No Comments
“Humans are social creatures and it is embedded in their brain the function of socialization. It is a natural thing for them to start a conversation at the register in a grocery store, in a bus stop, or any other place where two people remain close to each other for a minimum amount of time. It is an instinct that creates the need for connection between creatures that contributes to the survival of the species, not only by promoting the reproduction but also the mutual cooperation.” Raul Ojeda
I have been reading and re-reading Charlene Spretnak’s book RELATIONAL REALITY: New Discoveries of Interrelatedness That Are Transforming the Modern World It is an amazing read. The first part of the book is all about how all things/ everything/ all people/ all biology/ all earth matter is related and how over time scientists and spiritual questers have truly come to the same page. It was very much about people and their care and relational beingness. This was a fascinating study and overview.
Part II then related all this relational information to how we are shifting our educational views and our parenting systems as we learn about our relational modality. Could hardly put it down or stop reading.
Part III was about the Shift in Health and Healthcare. I have to admit I read this section of the book 3 times before moving on. Powerful thinking happening here.
Part IV is called the Relational Shift in community Design and Architecture. I have just finished this section and would wish it would be high up on everyone I knows’ list to read next – because it is very vital, potent material which over the past 35 years I have heard alluded to, and here it is all combined into overview form.
Chapter 5 and 6 I have not started yet they are on economics and how people can step up and respond.
Very good summary and overview here, which I want to enthusiastically share with you; please find a way to read this book.
I also want to share this creative communication with you and wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!
Life of an Architect Blog: Architect + Architect
The Social Animal by David Brooks
Architecture Which Repares It’s self
Biomimicry Architecture and Living Building Challenge
Thu, February 14 2013 » Reading » 1 Comment
The tree in middle
A loud crack and crash greeted our morning at about 5 am. It was the part of the top of our neighbor’s Historic and Giant Western Cedar tree breaking off and coming down.
When we went to investigate we could see that the top had gone through the neighbor’s garage roof and another large branch had taken out our fencing, some of the landscaping and fortunately missed the house and the deck.
The whole situation was assessed and it became apparent that the entire tree would need to come down for safety reasons and to save the house which was built around it. Someone about 40 years ago had TOPPED the tree and 3 new trees had grown from the cut off spot. I had heard all my life NEVER TOP A TREE and we certainly got a lesson on how dangerous that practice can be.
It was estimated to cost about $10,000.00 to remove the tree for lumber or sale – the wood is stunning. But the insurance would not cover that large a cost. It was decided to cut the tree and fell it into the woods on the bluff allowing it to become a nursery log. Large branches were removed and the top came down.
Top half down
It was amazing to witness. The section began in slow motion to come down and tilt towards the rope and pulleys. It just lay on air for a second or two, followed by a free fall and finally a race to crashing down. One of the loggers took a movie of the descent.
The skilled crew enjoys their work
On to the second half, and we were all prepared for the lift and the ballet of this fall.
What remains to ground out
It has been an exciting week and we have learned many lessons and how the city, county, state, and insurance companies work with Acts of Nature. Architects need to know and understand these big trees before they design the structure and we all need to know the rule DO NOT TOP THE TREE.
Mount Rainer watches tree fall
I know that some of these pictures are a bit blurry, but I did the best I could with the cellphone camera and my shaky hands. I believed that it would still make a good story even when not being picture perfect.
Do you understand the trees in your life? What is the life of the tree you know? Trees help us breathe clean air, do we help them? When is it an act of Nature and when is it encroachment?
Trees Coming Down (Patricia’s Wisdom)
The Tree of Life (Patricia’s Wisdom)
Men in Trees (Patricia’s Wisdom)
Fri, January 18 2013 » Discoveries » 1 Comment