The ARCH 301 Seattle Summer Studio, held from May 9-June 17, was hosted by Perkins + Will Architects and included ten third year architecture students taught by Associate Professor Ayad Rahmani.
The challenges posed to the students were divided into two types, the first a long six week project exploring ideas at the urban planning level; and the second three one-week projects proposing solutions to design problems stemming from the work of the practice itself.
The first long challenge entailed looking at the Seattle Center, the site of the 1962 World’s Fair, analyzing the forces bearing on it and then proposing revisions that would carry it into the 21st century. Only piecemeal work had been done on the campus since its inception and in their proposals the students produced several solutions, some looking at the idea of an urban forest to activate dead zones, but also to clean up spaces lacking in definition, while others focusing on specific corners to better link the campus to a nearby culturally diverse community.
One solution proposed new “mounds” around and between the buildings at the Center, creating new circulatory systems befitting of the way people move and relate to the city today.
The three one-week projects offered three very different insights into the commissions a large office typically receives; the first tackling large-scale urban planning issues, the second a tall mixed-use facade design, and finally an intimate handrail situation traveling the length of a bridge between two units at a large local hospital.
Student presentations alternated between the loose pencil sketch and the more crisp digital drawings and diagrams.