An actual offshoot/descendant of the chestnut tree that young Anne Frank drew solace from, looking down from her attic window in Amsterdam, is planted in the Peace Garden at the Seattle Center. It was a gift to the Holocaust Center for Humanity in downtown Seattle, only one of 11 saplings sent to America through The Sapling Project.
The original tree lived 170 years in the Netherlands, 50 years beyond its young Jewish admirer, who died at 15 years old in a Nazi concentration camp. While Anne and her family hid for two years in a concealed attic during World War II, she wrote in her diary of birds, the blue sky, and her chestnut tree out the window: “As long as this exists, how can I be sad?”
Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah) is this week, and the Holocaust Center for Humanity is holding a commemoration day on April 15th. Their current exhibit, “Let Me Be Myself: The Life Story of Anne Frank” runs through May 30th, reservations required.
The summer version of the Urban Craft Uprising (there’s a winter show, too) is happening on Saturday June 24th and Sunday June 25th this year. It’s being held at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall from 11 am to 5 pm, and at the time of this writing, there are currently around 146 indie vendors showcasing their handmade wares at this event.
For those who aren’t familiar with this, the Urban Craft Uprising supports independent artists and makers and their creations, by hosting Seattle’s largest craft show of its kind. In the summer, this juried show tends to be a bit quieter than the winter show (perhaps seeking out unique Christmas gifts then), so a good time to check out the event.
Crafts fall under different categories:
art ˖ accessories ˖ baby/kid stuff ˖ bags ˖ candles ˖ bath & body ˖ ceramics ˖ clothing ˖ fiber ˖ food (packaged) ˖ housewares ˖ jewelry ˖ kits & supplies ˖ paper goods ˖ pets ˖ toys
Between shopping for one-of-a-kind gifts, there are eating options as well. Five different food trucks will be available on the premises.
Amid concerns about the rapidly rising cost of living in Seattle, rising housing costs and urban expansion often top the list. According to this news article, Seattle could possibly be the 9th most expensive city in the world to be a renter. Meaning it might actually be less expensive to rent an apartment in Paris, France (which also made the list) than in our city.
Homelessness, along with this higher cost of living, has increased significantly here, as people find themselves in precarious life situations, and sometimes end up without a home. Mary’s Place is one local organization that provides safety and shelter for women, children and families. They also help people get back on their feet through meals, clean clothing, and social/financial/medical and employment services.
Amazon recently made a permanent commitment to Mary’s Place by pledging that the non-profit will be able to utilize six stories in one of two, new buildings to be built by the mega internet retail/cloud computing company on their current South Lake Union property. Plans are to open officially in the year 2020. Amazon will be providing the space rent-free for Mary’s Place, which currently occupies a former motel on the site, and will pay the utilities as well. The new space will provide an additional 10,000 square feet more than what the shelter currently has.
Amazon also recently made a commitment to FareStart, which give opportunities to people in the food industry, including job training. They will be providing significant space on their campus for 5 different types of FareStart eateries.
In a city rife with homelessness, donating space to carry out essential social service functions and job training may be a step in the right direction.
Science, art, and efficiency integrate seamlessly, not unlike our own left and right brains, in the architecture and structure of The Allen Institute building, located near the southwest bank of Lake Union. The large, LED-driven installation on the exterior façade, which is based upon neural brain activity and perception, transitions between colors and layered images. And among other unique building features is the engineering marvel of corralling existing mineral springs so a building could reliably stand on the site. The Allen Institute at 615 Westlake Ave. N. encompasses three entities: the Allen Institute for Brain Science, Allen Institute for Cell Science and Paul G. Allen Frontiers.
According to Puget Sound Business Journal, philanthropist Paul Allen’s 270,000 square foot, 7-story building has now won two awards from Engineering News-Record: ENR Northwest’s “Project of the Year” and Best “Higher Education/Research” project. Only 20 real estate developments were given commendations this year for any “Best of the Best” category. The two awards mentioned were given to the Allen Institute, in ENR’s words, “for achieving the promise of a collaborative concept, overcoming dewatering and structural challenges, and preserving a historical site.”
Dewatering? Structural challenges? What historical site? Well, “dewatering” refers to the mineral springs mentioned earlier; they bubbled up during initial excavation, which had to be addressed so the structure of the building wouldn’t buckle. Especially since the P4 parking garage is 34 feet below water level. Through a series of dewatering wells built during construction and careful monitoring over time of water pressure on shoring walls (more than 100 of them), the team was able to determine that the structure would hold. Because of a clever treatment system that filters the ground water so efficiently that it is released into Lake Union cleaner than the actual lake water, the WA Department of Ecology approved it.
The integrity of the former Ford and Pacific McKay car showrooms on-site, designated as a historic landmark, needed to be considered. Pioneer Masonry catalogued, disassembled, and stored any protected components from the buildings, especially the terra-cotta façade which was later reassembled using a virtual 3D model made previously. The new building was built to wrap around the older ones.
The interior of the facility has interesting features as well. Studio SC built the external public artwork called “Pathways” that adorns the exterior, but also provided wayfinding graphics/ signage within the building. The central atrium of the building is built to promote easy access between labs and offices, between co-workers in different departments. The excess heat produced by the data center, which stores a huge amount of information, is effectively re-routed to provide heating and cooling for the building. Besides the data center, the institute also has wet and dry labs, an electron microscopy area, auditorium, and a center for education.
Paul Allen, who initially made his fortune as co-founder of Microsoft, began this non-profit in 2003 to study the workings of the brain in an “open science” model (greatly simplified, meaning easier access to scientific knowledge and research). An interesting link to explore, the Allen Brain Atlas, gives a peek into the depth of what is studied here.
Owner/Developer: Vulcan Inc. General Contractor: GLY Lead Design/Architect Firm: Perkins+Will Subcontractors: BOLA Architecture + Planning; Candela; Sparling; Coughlin Porter Lundeen; McKinstry; Affiliated Engineers NW; Valley Electric; GeoEngineers; Pioneer Masonry
The three, new glass biospheres, which are part of Amazon’s new campus covering three blocks in the South Lake Union area, continue taking shape. Their 36-story adjoining square tower opened for business on November 7th, 2016, with the announcement “Hello World” in the window. This is the 2nd new building site move-in for Amazon in recent months.
The round, 5-story spheres are located at Lenora Street and 6th Avenue on the north end of downtown Seattle, and are designed to promote out-of-the-box thinking for 800 employees while serving as a nature conservatory. The idea is to promote creative thought in a relaxed, inviting work environment and provide a memorable iconic structure for the downtown core. They will include waterfalls, extension bridges, a river, and thousands of plants (U.S. and international), so employees and guests can connect with nature while at work. Retail spaces will also be opened within the spheres as well. Employees will have a cafeteria available on-site or always have the option of eating their lunch amid the climate-controlled gardens (set at a pleasant, not humid, temperature for humans during the day).
According to The Seattle Times, the Amazon company has hired a seasoned, full-time horticulturist, Ron Gagliardo, formerly of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, to manage these spaces. Principal architect at NBBJ, Dale Alberda, initially proposed a round, rather than square structure, which the committee responded well to. So now this out-of-the box structure is becoming a reality, and will fully open in late 2017 or early 2018.
Facebook will be expanding its Seattle presence again. According toThe Seattle Times, this sub-section of the company, with headquarters based in Menlo Park, California, recently moved into a new office building seven months ago at 1101 Dexter Avenue to house their employees. This newest pre-lease through Vulcan Real Estate will further expand the social network giant’s presence in the South Lake Union area.
The new project, calledArbor Blocks, will begin construction in a few weeks on 8th Avenue North, between Harrison and Thomas streets. Two six-story buildings (333 8th Ave. N. and 300 8th Ave. N.) will be built on opposite sides of the street, and will include a woonerf, which is a curbless street that’s friendly to pedestrians. The woonerf will include amenities for green living, such as bike racks, seating, and plants to filter air, as well as featuring public art. Offices will encompass 384,000 square feet of these buildings, with an additional 4,100 square feet for retail on the street level.
The Seattle office at 1101 Dexter Avenue is Facebook’s software engineering focus, and is a custom-built space. It can fit up to 2,000 people, although 1,000 employees currently occupy four floors of the building. This newest building will also have custom features, and will be designed by Graphite Design Group, perCurbed Seattle.
With all that space being created, it seems logical that an even larger influx of new Facebook employees is on its way.
A little piece of our local history: KCTS public television recently aired a special called “The Boys of ‘36” regarding the 1936 USA rowing team that unexpectedly won gold at the Olympics held in Berlin, Germany during Hitler’s reign. These young men were from the University of WA rowing team, and came from humble origins: sons of loggers, fishermen, and shipyard workers. They overcame great odds (financially, physically, and emotionally) during the Depression era to accomplish this. One of them even joined the team so he’d have enough food to eat each day. Recently, the last remaining member of the team passed away in his 90’s.
A book entitled “The Boys in the Boat” was written by local author Daniel James Brown about this team, which became a bestseller. This Olympic event was an important moment in not only Seattle’s, but our country’s history.