Andy Cottrill to Speak at Conference

BLRB’s Andy Cottrill, AIA, will be speaking at the 2014 Early Childhood Education Design Conference, presenting his experience working on Renton School District’s Meadow Crest Early Learning Center as a case study for early childhood educational facility design.

The conference will take place October 24, 2014, at the University of Colorado Denver.

Chinook Middle School Opens

Bellevue School District’s Chinook Middle School recently opened to mark the start of the 2014-2015 school year. The $40.7M school was designed for flexibility and includes multiple break out spaces for small group instruction and team teaching.

Tackable surfaces, moveable partitions and modular/moveable furniture all contribute to the flexibility of learning spaces. Integration of interior and exterior spaces was accomplished through the extensive use of glazing, and Chinook’s daylight filled, centrally located commons provides inspirational vistas to the outdoors while also enhancing student supervision from the interior to the outside play spaces and fields beyond. Outdoor courtyards create social gathering and outdoor learning areas.

In keeping with an emphasis on creating a sense of community and belonging, special education classrooms are integrated throughout the school rather than being segregated as a department.

Washington Elementary School Reopens

The heart of Tacoma’s Proctor District, Washington Elementary School recently reopened its doors to staff and students, signaling the end of the school's $19.7M rehabilitation.

With its rich architectural legacy and position as a much-loved fixture in the Proctor neighborhood, Washington’s restoration was both challenging and rewarding. The project included the complete interior reorganization of the two-story school and basement, demolition of a historically insignificant addition, and integration of an architecturally compatible addition.

Little Deschutes Lodge II Wins Sustainability Award

BLRB’s work on Pacific Crest Affordable Housing’s Little Deschutes Lodge II in La Pine, Oregon, was named a winner of the inaugural Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits Renewable Energy Power Awards. Owned by Little Deschutes Lodge 2 LLC, the south Deschutes County project was honored in the small community project category.

The award presentation was made in April 2014 in front of renewable energy industry practitioners attending the Financing Renewable Energy Conference in San Francisco, California.

Little Deschutes Lodge II is a 26-unit, low-income housing tax credit development in La Pine, Oregon. The lodge-style apartment complex offers energy-efficient lighting and ENERGY STAR-rated appliances, as well as a 32.2 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system.

In addition, a solar thermal system with 12 panels and four 120-gallon water tanks, a geothermal cooling and heating system with four miles of underground piping, five heat pumps and an energy recovery ventilation system provide the heating and cooling. 

R&W Engineering estimates that the energy-efficient measures will save 298,992 kW and more than $20,000 annually. The energy project received federal investment tax credits of over $50,000 for the complete system.

Meadow Crest Recognized by Governor Inslee

The City of Renton and the Renton School District were recently awarded a 2014 Smart Communities Award from Washington State Governor Jay Inslee for the Meadow Crest Early Learning Center & Accessible Playground, designed by BLRB Architects.
 
The 68,760-square-foot facility houses up to 450 preschool students and is organized to foster student safety, security and inclusion. Classrooms, meeting spaces and play areas are grouped into small wings, which allow children to move between spaces easily and experience their surroundings at an appropriate scale.
 
Multi-purpose rooms and meeting spaces were designed to flexibly accommodate a variety of functions and group sizes, with the ability to segregate them from student areas, allowing for 
both educational and community use of the facility.

Now in its ninth year, the Smart Communities Awards program recognizes achievements by local leaders who promote smart growth planning and projects that contribute to quality of life in Washington State.
 
“These projects help create and sustain a thriving economic climate and strengthen our ability to lead in the global economy,” said Gov. Inslee. “Washington is a great state in which to live and do business thanks to these examples of leadership and innovation in community planning and development.”

BLRB Selected for Tacoma Valhalla Hall Study

BLRB Architects was recently selected by the City of Tacoma to perform a feasibility study for the adaptive reuse and redevelopment of the former Valhalla Hall, a 15,000-square-foot building located at 1216 Martin Luther King Jr Way in Tacoma.

Currently in the beginning stages of the project, BLRB is working with the Tacoma Community Redevelopment Authority BLRB to identify the most viable development option for the property.

The current plan is to rehabilitate the building with respect to the neighborhood’s historic properties and convert it into a mixed-use facility with both commercial and residential space.

BLRB Architects Adds Seven Team Members

BLRB Architects recently hired seven new team members to continue the high level of service the firm provides its clients throughout the region.

Jamie Sandburg is a talented architectural designer who brings significant experience with public facility design and sustainable design features. She is a graduate of Washington State University’s Architecture program, earning Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Architecture degrees. Her recent experience includes the design of a LEED Platinum Community Center for the Tacoma Housing Authority’s new housing project in the Hilltop neighborhood.

Nickolas Watkins joined BLRB as an Intern Architect, bringing recent experience on a variety of public and private projects throughout the northwest. Nickolas graduated from the University of Idaho’s Architecture program, earning Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Architecture degrees.
His recent experience include the Clackamas Town Center Remodel and Expansion, the Google Campus Phase II Core and Shell project in Kirkland and Banks Middle School in Banks, Ore.

Elizabeth Stonecypher has joined BLRB as an Intern Architect, bringing specialized experience in the development of architectural graphics. She is a graduate of the University of Idaho, earning Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Architecture degrees. Elizabeth recently worked in Beijing, China, as a designer and architect working primarily on the city’s subway entrances.

Kourtney Strong joins BLRB’s Portland office as a Project Manager, bringing more than a decade of experience in the design of public and private facilities. Kourtney is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, where she earned dual degrees in Architecture and Building Sciences. Her recent experience includes a variety of commercial, industrial, retail and institutional 
project types throughout Oregon.

As one of three new team members in the firm’s Bend office, Aiden Humphrey joined BLRB with significant sustainable design experience and training. A graduate of University of Oregon’s Master in Architecture program, Aiden studied sustainable practices at an advanced level with professor G.Z. Brown, an internationally recognized energy expert. Aiden has designed numerous residential, commercial, educational and medical projects.

Also joining the firm’s Bend office is RJ Johnson, a project manager and architect with more than 20 years experience serving public and private clients throughout the region. A graduate of the University of Idaho’s Architecture program, RJ has specialized expertise in sustainable design practices developed while working on a variety of commercial, educational, residential and municipal projects.
Dustin Locke is another of the firm’s new Bend hires, with specialized expertise in environmental and community-based architecture. A recent graduate of the University of Oregon’s architecture program, Dustin has interned at two distinguished Northwest firms and served in the United States Navy as an Avionic Electronics Technician.

Tacoma Dome District Feasibility Study Receives AIA Award

As part of AIA Southwest Washington’s Honor Awards held November 7, BLRB received a Citation Award for the 415 East urban infill feasibility study the firm completed in collaboration with the Tacoma Housing Authority and Pierce Transit.
 
The mixed-used, mid-rise residential development would be located along 25th Street East, across from Freighthouse Square and along the Sounder and Link commuter lines in the Tacoma Dome district. 
 
The building’s programming envisions a mix of market-rate and affordable housing, retail and café spaces, shared interior areas, outdoor patio, green roof, lofted library, community meeting rooms and a fitness center.
To soften the urban atmosphere, private grass areas are provided for individual units, and the rooftop of the parking garage is utilized as a vegetated courtyard with a dog run.
 
The 415 East project is envisioned as the start of Tacoma’s first modern multi-mode transit-rich neighborhood - a positive catalyst for future sustainable growth and urban community in Tacoma.

BLRB Architects Hires Three Team Members

BLRB Architects recently hired three new team members to continue the high level of service the firm provides its clients throughout the region.

Scott Winters joined the firm’s Tacoma office, bringing specialized experience in the development of architectural graphics and renderings. Scott earned a Master’s degree in Architecture from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Mixed Media from Western Washington University.

Henry Rhett joined BLRB’s Bend office, bringing 15 years of technical design experience and specialized expertise with design tools such as AutoCad and Revit. Prior to joining BLRB, Henry ran his own design firm, completing dozens of residential and commercial projects. Henry earned his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Oregon.
Melissa Guarin, AIA, LEED AP BD+C has joined BLRB’s Portland’s office, bringing more than a decade of architectural design experience and expertise with design development, project coordination, drawings and specifications on a variety of public and private projects. Melissa earned Master of Science in Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Baker Middle School Wins Learning By Design Award

BLRB has received a Publisher’s Commendation Award for outstanding educational facility design in the Fall 2013 Edition of Learning By Design, the biannual guide that showcases and recognizes innovative school and university design and construction projects.     

Recognized for its creative design of Baker Middle School, BLRB is only one of four firms to receive a Publisher’s Commendation Award in the Fall 2013 design competition.

BLRB’s design of Baker was applauded for its emphasis on community access, personalized educational environments, flexibility and environmental stewardship. The bright and airy design embraces both small learning communities and shared learning spaces.
The design of the 118,320-square-foot replacement incorporated green elements, such as on-site timber reclamation, rainwater harvesting and natural ventilation.

Learning By Design recognized BLRB’s design for “beautiful materials inside and out (that) help to create a warm and inviting feel for students, staff and the community.”

Learning By Design Fall 2013 Edition

Helen Keller Elementary Replacement Wins Top Award

BLRB Architects’ replacement of Helen Keller Elementary School for the Lake Washington School District in Kirkland was recently awarded the William W. Caudill Citation award as the top project in American School & University Magazine’s 2013 Architectural Portfolio.
   
The 56,000-square-foot elementary school was recognized for its “great integration of concept into the overall plan.” The jury also noted the school’s small learning communities and how they benefit learning.

The replacement of Helen Keller Elementary School opened to students in September of 2012. Keller’s design reflects a comprehensive, state-of-the-art elementary school that supports personalized instruction and community building among students and teachers.   Windows, skylights and lightwells ensure that interior spaces are filled with natural light, ensuring a pleasant, inspiring and sustainable learning atmosphere. 
The school is organized around four small learning settings, organized by grade level, that facilitate individualized attention and enhance student-teacher relationships.   Each learning setting has a unique character and is identified through the use of color, signage and raised tactile braille which identifies Keller’s four guiding principles: respect, growth, integrity and perseverance.

American School & University Magazine’s 2013 Architectural Portfolio will be available in November. William W. Caudill (1914-1983) was an American architect, teacher and author, best known for his educational facility design.

2013 AS&U Architectural Portfolio Issue

Principal Recognized for Excellence in Construction Specifications

At the annual awards banquet of the Mt. Rainier Chapter of Construction Specifications Institute held on June 6, BLRB Principal Dennis Kabba received the Donald E. Paine Specifications Award.

The award is presented yearly, recognizing excellence in the area of specifications writing and “outstanding stature as a practicing specifications writer.” Larry Barger and Fred Johnson, who are both previous recipients, presented the award.

Kabba has worked with BLRB Architects for over 25 years and oversees the firm’s construction administration services as well as quality control processes. He is a past president of the Mt. Rainier Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute.