In what feels like a past life, I studied architecture and urban design. Most of these projects date back to the early 2000s – sketches from college, building and city plans from grad school and a desk made during that era.

Natural Systems Swimming Pool [Winter 2005]: This public pool project was designed for one of the many parks found throughout Seattle. It was made to engage with surrounding natural environment. The proposal involved passive heating, cooling and ventilation systems as well as other green building strategies, and a minimalist structural framework to enhance the visual connection of the exterior forest and interior space.

Sustainable Urban Art High School [Spring 2006]: Sited in the center of downtown Seattle, this project engaged both the external urban environment while reserving internal educational spaces. A living wall wraps around, creating bridge for students as they spiral up into the building through semi-public and increasingly niche programmatic zones — it is about liminal spaces and transitions between public and private zones. (Click to Enlarge)

Solid Wood Mahogany Desk [Summer 2006]: Crafted from a single raw piece of ribboned Honduras Mahogany, as much time was spent calculating the best way to divide the precious wood as was put into the cutting and construction of the final furniture piece. The resulting desk deals with solid-wood issues such as seasonal expansion and contraction, combining modern styles and traditional construction techniques. It features a floating top, single sliding drawer and recessed footrest. More images here.

Temple of Light Memorial [Fall 2006]: A memorial to victims of a tragic shooting that took place in Seattle, this temple posed a unique set of difficulties at all stages of its design. First, it was ultimately a community project – the solution was not about designer ambition or personal opinion. It evolved in response to the needs of the bereaved, including friends and family. Second, the structure was seven sided (with one side for each victim) – this asymmetry made the creation of plans, sections and the final itself object more difficult. Controversially, one of the sides was left ambiguous, for self-reflection or for the deeply troubled shooter, arguably a societal victim himself. After being displayed at Seattle Center, the piece was deconstructed (by design) and moved to the Black Rock Desert. It was then erected again and burned at an annual arts festival in Black Rock City which a number of the deceased had visited annually. (Click to Enlarge)

Centerpark – A Redesign for Seattle Center [Fall 2006]: Part architecture, part urban design, and pretty far out all around, this redesign addresses a puzzling space left over from Seattle’s long-past World’s Fair. The project re-envisioned the area as a place that could re-center the city, becoming more than the sum of its currently-disjointed parts. The solution combined new layers of vertical park space, transportation and civic interaction areas ¬†on upper levels in order to give new meaning to a central place left for to long to evolve without singular purpose or coherent meaning. The driving idea was to optimize what was already there while strategically adding layers of programming in steps to make it more vibrant and multifunctional, quite literally on multiple levels (Click to Enlarge)

This isn’t meant to be a portfolio – I don’t work as a designer – more just a little box of memories. The further I get away from it, however, the more I realize how much value I got from these design-related experiences – including visual communication skills, researching and writing practice and an ongoing¬† appreciation for design challenges and those who face them.