Thank you to Mithun for cosponsoring ARCADE's website and e-newsletter.
This Wednesday 25 Apr
by UW Landscape Architecture Department
6:30 – 8:30pm
Gina Ford will discuss a series of projects where landscape is a medium and catalyst for addressing resilience, equity and democratic action.
This Thursday 26 Apr
by AIA Seattle
5:30 – 6:30pm
A short documentary that follows the conception and construction of the GHESKIO Cholera Treatment Center by MASS Design Group.
This Thursday 26 Apr
by Northwest Film Forum
A gathering of submissions from Pacific Northwest artists and the collaborative outcomes of the video poetry workshop offered through NWFF.
This Friday 27 Apr
by Design Museum Portland
8:30 – 10am
Designer, innovator, and global leader Lorrie Vogel shares the keys she has used to unlock creativity as an instrument for success.
Saturday 28 Apr
by Modern Architecture + Design Society
11am – 5pm
Self-guided home tours of modern architecture showcasing six private residences plus an architect's studio.
Sunday 29 Apr
by Design in Public, AIA Seattle
11:30am – 2:30pm
Ai Weiwei followed the journeys of some of the 65 million people forced from their homes to create his new documentary film, Human Flow.
Wednesday 2 May
by Living Future Unconference
1 – 5pm
The Water Summit at the Living Future unConference will focus on four of the stickiest brain-teasers facing net positive water and healthy watersheds.
Wednesday 2 May
by Seattle Architecture Foundation, BONFIRE Gallery, Panama Hotel
5:30 – 8pm
at Panama Hotel
Meet at the corner of Bitter and Sweet to tour the historic Panama Hotel followed by nibbles and drinks at Bill Gaylord’s BONFIRE Gallery.
Wednesday 2 May
by UW Department of Architecture
at UW Campus
This installment of the spring lecture series, the ScanDesign Lecture, will feature speaker Christina Strand of Strand & Hvass.
Wednesday 2 May
by SMPS Seattle
7:30 – 11:30am
A workshop led by Tim Asimos, CPSM, that will provide tangible and practical solutions to transforming the norm of A/E/C marketing.
Thursday 3 May
by UW College of Built Environments
5:30 – 8:30pm
Finding Our Way is a story of a people dispossessed and unresolved conflict between Indigenous people, governments in Canada and industry.
Thursday 3 May
by AIGA Seattle
5:30 – 8pm
Join AIGA Seattle for happy hour at some of Seattle’s most sought after creative firms: Artefact, Blink, Civilization, and Strange & Wonderful.
Thursday 3 May –
Friday 1 Jun
by Gallery 4Culture
Gallery hours, M – F, 9am – 5pm
Opening Reception, 3 May, 6 – 8pm
Robert Hutchison’s works in the exhibition Memory Houses investigates death and memory through the lens of architecture.
Friday 4 May
by Living Future Unconference
This workshop will help develop a heightened awareness of equity and social justice issues and help integrate strategies in green building projects.
Through Thursday 10 May
by Design Museum Portland, Center for Contemporary Art & Culture at PNCA
Public Opening Reception: 15 February, 6–9pm. See website for museum hours.
This exhibition surveys the past, present, and future of prosthetic design on a global scale.
Through Monday 4 Jun
by Frye Art Museum
Public Opening: 16 February, 7:30–9:30pm. Tours on 24 March and 20 May 2–3pm. See website for museum hours.
Exhibition featuring the work of Seattle-based artist Ko Kirk Yamahira, who deconstructs his paintings, turning surface into form.
Through Sunday 27 May
by AIA Seattle
T–Th, 10am–6pm; F, 10am–5pm; Sa, 1–5pm
An exhibit showcasing six architectural practices redefining the role and responsibility of the architect to meet the needs of a broader public.
Through Thursday 31 May
by Non–Breaking Space, Civilization
Gallery Hours: M – Th, 11am – 6pm
Opening Party: 5 April, 6 – 9pm
An exhibition showcasing new work by Gabriel Stromberg, creative director of Civilization of the exhibit.
Through Saturday 5 May
7am –10pm daily
Animations created from scans of drawings, exploring the theme of shifting perspectives in a built environment of constant change.
Through Monday 30 Apr
by Peter Miller Architecture and Design Books
Exhibit: M – Sa, 10am – 6pm; Opening Reception: 5 April, 5:30 – 7:30pm
Local photographer Claudia Smith gathers fish bones and transforms them into visual tapestries, giving them a second life.
Through Friday 27 Apr
by UW Department of Architecture Professionals Advisory Council
Exhibit: M – F, 8am – 5pm.
Opening Reception: 14 April, 5 – 8pm.
This exhibit highlights emerging architectural projects designed by Washington practitioners, providing a rare glimpse into the studio process.
Through Tuesday 12 Jun
by Design in Public, AIA Seattle
Apply the power of design thinking to the urgent need to welcome, support and empower urban immigrants and refugees.
Sam Gregory and Mericos Rhodes
At our farm, the air is alive with sound. Hardworking bees buzz among burnt-orange squash blossoms. A cow calls to her calf. A hawk rises into the sky on a breeze, the same breeze that rustles a mulberry tree until a handful of fruit falls to the ground. Sweet berries rest on the soil, which gives off a rich, clean scent of its own, and is home to billions of microbes, working hard like the bees to support a nuanced natural system.
Nature is beautiful, bounteous, and diverse. Here at Spoon Full Farm, and at other ecological farms around the world, farmers and designers mimic nature’s ecosystems to create an agriculture that matches this beauty, bounty, and diversity with added productivity. In an age when most agriculture sickens our planet, our climate, and our people, ecological farming is a delicious alternative.
The typical landscape of industrial agriculture is neither beautiful, nor musical, nor fragrant. Perhaps you’ve driven through the endless rows of corn or soybeans in “farm country,” where the monocrop pattern is broken only by a combine spewing exhaust. The people who operate these farms will tell you that we can’t have both a biodiverse, healthy landscape and a productive farm on the same plot of land. We have to make sacrifices to “feed the world.” We must till soil; we must apply herbicides, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers to miles and miles of genetically uniform crops: that’s the only way to feed humanity’s fast growing population.
Industrial agriculture efficiently creates calories, but those calories come with steep deferred costs. Pesticides kill pollinators; synthetic nitrogen fertilizers leach into groundwater, rivers, and oceans, creating huge marine dead zones; and soil tillage releases gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
How long can the Earth bear these costs? Must we mine our soil and pollute our planet? Or can we use thoughtful design, based on ecological principles, to create a long-term solution?
Nature has fed herself for millions of years. However, natural ecosystems don’t produce enough calories to support modern populations. We need high crop yields every year. Our farms must both support themselves like ecosystems and also produce enough food.
Thus our design philosophy for farms must not only mimic but also augment nature to outcompete industrial agriculture. We design in response to the specific characteristics of each piece of land, choosing and arranging each detail to create larger patterns of interrelationships that resemble those of an ecosystem. While we can’t replicate the infinite complexity of nature, we can design a farm that is both self-sustaining and highly productive.
We start from the ground up, focusing on the health of our soil. We create a constant cycle of decomposing plants and manure to feed a vibrant food chain of soil microbes. Bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and protozoans work together to recycle organic matter, store water, and make nutrients available for plants. We keep this microecosystem intact by never tilling our earth. Agriculture is extractive: harvesting crops, we pull energy out of the ground and ship it elsewhere to be eaten. Keeping our soil whole helps to replenish this energy.
Up from this healthy soil grows a biodiverse range of crops, dense in life-giving nutrients. Along with potatoes, squash, and other annual produce, our garden grows lavender bushes and nettle hedges. These perennial plants provide consistent habitat for pollinators and predator bugs that eat pest insects, making pesticides obsolete.
Next year, our cows’ composted winter manure will add more fertility to our garden. As in every ecosystem, animals are crucial. We rotate our cows from one lush paddock to the next, every day, to stimulate grass regrowth. That’s the way bison moved for millennia, grazing and fleeing wolves in a cycle that built up the rich prairie soils. And as our grass grows up, its roots grow down, storing solid carbon underground.
Each element in our farm design supports the others, and therefore the whole. Rather than directly feed our crops, we maintain a system that builds our soil, which feeds the crops for us. We grow an abundance of healthy food, rivaling the productivity of industrial agriculture with a system that is not just sustainable but actually regenerative and communicative: everybody can understand an incredibly delicious carrot grown in a natural system beautiful enough to inspire.
Thank you to Andrew Buchanan/Subtle Light Photography for co-sponsoring ARCADE's website and e-newsletter.
Monday 16th Apr 2018
5 – 7pm
Put on by Peter Miller Architecture and Design Books, ARCADE
Please join Peter Miller Books and ARCADE in welcoming author and filmmaker Cassim Shepard, who will present ideas from Citymakers: The Culture and Craft of Practical Urbanism followed by a discussion with the audience.
How is a city made today? In his new book, Citymakers: The Culture and Craft of Practical Urbanism, Cassim Shepard argues that it’s not just the top-down planners, architects and elected officials and bottom-up community groups that shape our cities, but the large and unheralded group in between.
Shepard offers a cross-disciplinary approach to understanding the contemporary city that focuses on emerging principles practiced by a diverse group of “citymakers” including landscape designers, housing advocates, hackers, architects, ecologists, community organizers, activists, artists, and more.
Citymakers takes stock of these diverse examples from New York City to suggest a series of ethical imperatives for how we think about and produce public space, infrastructure, information technology, and housing worldwide.
Cassim Shepard produces non-fiction media about cities, buildings and places. Trained as an urban planner, geographer, and documentary filmmaker, Shepard served as the founding editor-in-chief of Urban Omnibus, an online publication of The Architectural League of New York, where he spent six years working with hundreds of local architects, designers, artists, writers, and public servants to share their stories of urban innovation. His film and video work has been commissioned by and screened at the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Craft, and the United Nations, among many other venues around the world. He teaches in the Urban Design program at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and has been a guest lecturer in the Cities Programme of the London School of Economics and a Poiesis Fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. He studied filmmaking at Harvard University, urban geography at Kings College London, and urban planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Citymakers: The Culture and Craft of Practical Urbanism, published by Monacelli Press in 2017, is his first book.
Located along the Missouri River in the heartland of Montana lies the state’s third largest city, Great Falls. Hovering over the area in Google Earth, one can detect a small section east of downtown that is oriented 15 degrees off the unyielding city grid. This deviation hints at a design marvel that may be one of the most intact examples of international style architecture in America today: the University of Providence, Great Falls.
Originally founded in 1932 as the Great Falls Junior College for Women, the school went through numerous iterations and multiple locations before establishing its current home. In 1958, the college commissioned Page & Werner Architects to design their 22-acre campus. One of the firm’s founding principals, Vince Werner, had recently graduated from Montana State University, where he was introduced to a new architectural theory called the international style. From the overall master plan to furniture selection and meticulous interior detailing, Page & Werner embraced this modernist approach for the University of Providence design with uncompromising passion.
What is so astonishing about the architecture is its absolute consistency throughout. This is especially so considering how isolated Great Falls was from the great intellectual architectural centers in the United States at the time.
The whole campus has remained remarkably intact since the day it opened. It is truly a wonderful and underappreciated example of the optimism and design daring promoted throughout the United States after the war.
In a corner of a slum in the middle of Nairobi there was a tiny neighborhood in which most of the storefronts were painted by Frederick Kennedy Okello. The stores were shacks made of corrugated steel and scrap wood. Sometimes they had goods, sometimes not. Some were just mud and sticks. But. They were all bright colors.
Most of them were covered in writing, and some had beautiful paintings on them. They were all painted by hand, by Kennedy. One building was painted blue, with a giraffe on it. Another had a purple wall with three human faces. There was a depiction of animals boarding the Ark. There was a primary school with paintings of airplanes.
Kennedy’s paint was intended to color cars and buses. This was the only affordable paint. Once in a while he had to come back and redo his work because it wore over time if the materials or the surfaces were not good.
When Kennedy was small, he was given a pen and a piece of paper, and he drew his mother cooking, his father, his brothers, and sisters. He left school when he was still a child. The first time he painted on a storefront, he was 16. He was scared, but he felt he was right to be. He had never even painted before, so it was correct to be afraid.
His colors were always bright. Dull colors did not attract attention. He carried many varieties of colors with him. If the owners of the shacks did not know which color to choose, Kennedy advised them.
Kennedy believed that accuracy was the most important thing in painting signs and storefronts. Accuracy meant that a thing looked as much like itself as possible. A painting of a pig would be as pig-like as possible. Accuracy told the story of a thing. All of the world’s things had stories. Even a pig. Even a screw.
His own home did not have anything special painted on it. It was just blue and clear like the sky. His roof was made of steel, and there were small holes in it. Inside, there were no lights except for the light that came through these holes.
Kennedy kept an envelope with Polaroids of all the paintings he had done. Buildings, signs, and doors. When it rained, sometimes the buildings fell apart. Sometimes there were fires or buildings would simply collapse. There would be violence, and the storefronts would be erased. For this reason, Kennedy stored his paintings in this envelope. One could walk through the neighborhood and find it bright, with writing everywhere, and artwork everywhere, and prayers written over doorways, or one could look in the envelope, which might outlive the buildings, if only for a little while.
Thank you to Mithun for cosponsoring ARCADE's website and e-newsletter.
ARCADE's March 19 salon features members of Sawhorse Revolution (which fosters "confident, community-oriented youth through the power of carpentry and craft") speaking on the importance of slow learning. Tickets: http://bit.ly/2p6Yi2y
Unchoreographed Spaces: An Interview with Choreographer and Artistic Director Elana Jacobs of CabinFever
Sawhorse Revolution: Can you tell us a little bit about CabinFever?
Elana Jacobs: I cofounded CabinFever in 2011 with the main purpose of reaching new audiences for contemporary dance and performance art. We distinguish our company using homes as our primary venue, creating original music and dance inspired by the homes, the architecture, and the families who live there. For a typical CabinFever show, the rooms of the homes are transformed into living art spaces, showcasing performances inspired by memories, history, and space.
SR: Could you tell us about your process? To make an evening-length work, the creative process can take a maximum of two weeks or be as quick as two days. It’s a short, high intensity, very honest process.
EJ: Before I create a work that is based in a home, I prepare by interviewing the family—sometimes three to four days in a row. Then I contemplate a seed of an idea from the talk that feels compelling, whether it’s a comment from a family member or an entryway of a room that feels really beautiful. Next, I start to create movement that has nothing to do with that seed: just movement that I find compelling. Independently, the musicians create something that they find interesting.
After those three things are created—raw movement, raw music, and the seed of something interesting—we start to play around, matching things together. And then I’ll just yell out something that I find true: “That’s really funny!” or “There’s something really tender about the way you did that.” And then we try as a team to expand that truth and that honesty.
SR: Your process sounds very in the moment, with the location, the participants, and each other. How are you able to keep the pieces fresh when the performance comes around? I try to build a couple of moments of unknown into the piece. That’s really hard—I like control, and I like planning. But I know that things are going to go wrong, and things are going to actually bloom out of that space.
EJ: We recently did a show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago titled Respire. A collaboration between MCA, CabinFever, and electronic improvisor Stephan Moore, it took place in the museum alongside the exhibition Common Time, which celebrated the life of Merce Cunningham. During Respire the dancers performed in many different locations in the museum.
At one point two dancers, Aaron R. White and Emily Pacilio, needed to walk downstairs to get to another location, and I didn’t have anything choreographed for that transition. So, I said to the pair, “Go ahead and be inspired by the audience, and look at the space, and be with the space,” and that’s it. I walked away thinking that I hadn’t given them enough information and how that part might be less interesting.
Yet, I was able to catch that moment during the performance, and it became my favorite part of the whole show. They created an entire duet on the spot, just walking down the stairs. It was so moving, and the audience—hundreds of people—was watching them from the bottom of the stairs, watching them have this spontaneous, inspired duet.
A woman came walking down the stairs, and the second she turned to go back upstairs because she noticed the performance, one of the dancers, Aaron, said, “No, come!” And he kind of led her arm in arm down the stairs. Later, the program curator, Erin Toale, earnest eyed, showed us a photo of the moment, saying, “This is what that day was about.”
That was a learning experience for me about not overplanning. If I had created specific choreography, the dance would have stood still in that shape. But this was alive, as if not planning let something in that I could never have imagined.
The first time I cut my fingertip off with an X-Acto knife I was 18, up too late trying to cut a mat board within a millimeter of perfect. I got blood on the project and had to start over with printing and trimming and spraying and mounting. Now, at home and a million miles from the office, my drafting table still has X-Acto blades, brushes, straightedge, tracing paper. Analog. Physical things from when design was something you did with your hands. It was tactile. It had a smell. It was . . . physically considerable. The same design principles for analog certainly apply to all the digital that has come between me and my X-Acto blades, and these skills have served me and many a client well. But working in (and for the most part, living in) the digital world leaves an emptiness, vertigo. My existence there lacks a je ne sais quoi that I cannot find an English word for: a realism, a completeness, a sense of something like gravitas. At the end of my day there are no scraps of mat board, no scent of fresh prints, no Band-Aids.
My craft now is all pixel. I have a very practical awareness of the significance of what I do. I am a UX and visual designer for a not insignificant part of a not insignificant product at a not insignificant company. In fact, if I change the wrong thing, I’ll likely ruffle at least a few hundred-thousand feathers. Still, that does not tame my odd but nagging feeling that working in pixels and electrical currents is a sort of “make-believe.”
So, in contrast to my day job, my off-hours are filled with an absurd accumulation of hyperanalog, antidigital pursuits that I am using to ground these loose digital wires: mountaineering, foraging, animal processing, indigenous ethnobotany, wilderness first-responder training, and weekend-warrior hunts for cell-service-free old-growth locations. I wonder, often, how many people in tech are having the same metaphysical struggle.
Timothy Egan wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times back when we were all abuzz with the news that our digitally adjusted attention spans are now shorter than those of goldfish. Short attention is, admittedly, a slightly different problem, but to me it indicates the same unnerving rabid-gerbil-arms desperation for a sense of grounding, as if the mind is drowning in insignificant content. Egan writes, “I don’t know what the neuroscience has to say about this, but I’ve found a pair of antidotes, very old school, for my shrinking attention span. The first is gardening.” DIRT.
My instinct is that the lizard brain within needs weighty, tangible, messy moments, physical problems with serious consequences, actual irritation, sensory assault. It is unsatisfied with the comfy office chairs in climate-controlled buildings, uneasy with the free-coffee dispensers and golden handcuffs. We might find suitable postures in front of our keyboards and, like the sea squirt, conserve energy by digesting our own brains. But the lizard within calls to us: “Rage, rage against the complacency of the Retina LED light!”
I know and deeply respect that the digital world has given us unprecedented connectivity with each other and provided information, solutions. I very much know that it has been a miraculous magic wand, just as much or more than it has been a twisted version of Through the Looking-Glass. But from where I sit within the daily grind of the tech hive, digital seems a bundle of nerves and energy trying to stay one minute more relevant than itself. It is ephemeral, it is liquid, it is pathos, it is created in a moment and dies in the next, briefly begging its audience for one viral second of relevance. It is the endless mixing of batter and never baking or smelling or eating, but only imagining the cake and then tossing the concoction to begin again with the next-most-recent recipe. There are more and more chefs in these rapid-iteration, fail-fast digital careers every day. Books have been written about what this fickle, impatient, intangible space is doing to our relationships, our choices, our health.
Thus the wave of discomfort rose before me in reaction to the surge of digital ephemerality. Like Egan, I found dirt. It started with a little p-patch. Then I upped the ante by designing for cloud portals and online software. So the pendulum swung higher. I learned to slaughter and process ungulates. I learned to make medicines from things on the forest floor and start fire from nothing. I walked eight days to eat dal at 17,000 feet from a stove that burned dried yak dung. I became a mountaineer.
I know I’m not alone. Walk the streets of Amazon’s South Lake Union realm or the sidewalks of Google in Fremont or the promenade through Microsoft’s commons. How many logger/miner/fisherman impersonators do you see? What defines a hipster if not a desire for the tactile, the smells and scrapes and dirt and grease and splinters and fire of sweat-earned work? The more our lives resemble the Borg, the more we romanticize Grizzly Adams.
My most successful balancing weekends of late have involved broken crampons and pooping in “blue bags.” Does it work? Can I sit down on a Wednesday afternoon for another round of mock-up microedits and feel grounded? For now. But if I start working on VR, Zeus help me.