Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board designates Montlake Elementary School

Images: Seattle Public Schools via BOLA

Image: Seattle Public Schools via BOLA

The Landmarks Preservation Board last week voted unanimously to approve designation for Montlake Elementary School. Congratulations Montlake, you are now officially historic.

The nomination was championed by Montlake resident and preservation activist Jon Decker, with funding support from the Montlake Community Club. Consultants BOLA Architecture + Planning prepared the nomination report earlier this year, and guided it through the landmarks process.

The building will next be reviewed for “controls and incentives” by the Landmarks Board which will identify specific regulations for future modifications to the building. From the Landmarks website:

If the Board designates a property, a Controls and Incentives Agreement for the landmark is negotiated by the Board staff with the property owner. Once an agreement is reached and signed, it is forwarded to the Landmarks Preservation Board for approval at a public meeting. Controls define those features of the landmark to be preserved and outline the Certificate of Approval process for changes to those features. Incentives may include, but are not limited to, zoning variances, building code exceptions, and financial incentives.

The designation was supported by the PTA after determining that historic designation status would guide, but not hinder, future efforts to remodel the building. It is standard practice for the School District to retain a determination on historic status before beginning major renovation projects on older buildings. School parents have lobbied long and hard to keep Montlake Elementary viable after efforts to close the school due to low enrollment. With strong community support, the school has recently received high marks for achievement and is well-regarded for its urban farming and healthy food programs.


Montlake Music and Arts Happening, Sunday May 19th

20130515-055359.jpgPainting by Montlake artist James Sutherland, whose work is shown in many galleries and other venues in Seattle and beyond. Some of his small works will appear in the All Montlake Music & Arts Happening.

Walk on over to the Montlake Community Center Sunday, May 19
For the First All-Montlake Music and Arts Happening. It’ll be swinging at 1618 E. Calhoun Street from 2:00 to 5:00.

You just can’t afford to miss this opportunity to:

BE AMAZED by the artistic talents of 30 of your neighbors, from poets to painters to photographers, block printers and crayon wielders; from sculptors to fine furniture makers to carvers, bonsai artists, & jewelry makers; from henna and fiber artists, to quilters, and knitters. (Montlake Elementary School students will display art and do art demos for you too)

HUM ALONG with tunes from your talented musical neighbors: The Gilbert & Sullivan Society; The Jazz Hands; Mother Pluckers Ukulele Band, D.J. Wilson; Jonathan Dubman; The Montlake Strings

GREET old neighborhood friends and MEET new neighbors who’ll become friends.

ENJOY REFRESHMENTS from your fine Montlake businesses: FUEL; CAFÉ LAGO; MONTS MARKET,

VOTE to elect your next Board for the Montlake Community Club

DONATE to the MCC for yearly projects undertaken on your behalf

We just can’t think of a good reason for anyone to miss this new All-Montlake event. Come early. Come in the middle. Come near the end. Come for the whole time or come for part. Come rain or shine. Come by yourself or come with a bunch. Just be there!

Painting by James Sutherland.

Da-Kadu Brown stars in ‘Can’t Hold Us’ video, gives Mackelmore ‘The Heist’

Montlake resident Da-Kadu Brown celebrated the release of Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis’s ‘Can’t Hold Us’ video this week, and let go of a secret he’s been keeping since filming in February at the Big Four Ice Caves in the Cascades: It is he who is standard bearer of The Heist. Da-Kadu stars in the snowy opening scene, handing off a folded Heist flag to a be-wolfed Ben Haggerty, aka Mackelmore, who then journeys with it through fantastic scenes of Seattle and the Northwest. Like My Oh My — a beautiful ode to the city.

Congrats Da-Kadu! The video is worth the wait to stream in HD.

Arboretum North Entry project to reclaim wetlands, create overlook hill


All images: Seattle Parks/Berger Partnership

The end game for the new Arboretum multi-use trail announced last week is the second phase North Entry project planned for the post-520-replacement-era. The project would return the WSDOT Peninsula / Miller Street Dump to the Arboretum after it was taken for highway use half a century ago.

Things are different this time around and WSDOT will replace wetlands lost to 520’s expanding footprint with new wetlands at several sites around Lake Washington. One of those sites includes five acres on the garbage-dump-peninsula’s western shore which will be restored and planted with native species to increase biodiversity. Separate from this mitigation work but in partner with it, the proposed North Entry project would incorporate the new wetland, daylight Arboretum Creek (currently piped underground) and extend the park to the future Montlake Lid.

Some 28,000 cubic yards of earth will be regraded to create the new wetland. Rather than hauling the material offsite, the North Entry plan calls for it to be piled into a 40-foot hill at the peninsula’s south end, creating a new overlook with views of the wetland and surrounding tree canopy. 20130129-082224.jpg While the plan is still in early stages, Seattle Parks expects to reclaim ownership of the peninsula once highway construction is complete. Details of the land transfer are not settled, but it is assumed WSDOT will not keep a property for which it has no use. The Ramp-to-Nowhere made the peninsula “useless” when the R.H. Thomson was defeated in 1971 — those ramps are to be demolished by 2016.


North Entry plan. Click for larger view.

DPD’s small lot development forum to discuss residential D-word

This is what density looks like. Image: Montlaker

Following emergency legislation in September curtailing backyard subdivision and development, the Seattle City Council is re-examining land-use regulations for single-family neighborhoods. The legislation was enacted in no small part due to Blaine residents objecting to a backyard tall-and-skinny house going up on their street. Now begins the hard work of rewriting the building code to allow reasonable growth “in character” with single-family zones while ending for good the grandfather clauses that allowed these small-lot subdivisions to occur.

Please join us for a panel discussion about the City of Seattle’s effort to update standards and exceptions for developing on small lots in Single Family zones.

DPD recently determined that development under current standards is often out of character with the surrounding neighborhood. Interim measures were put in place to prevent additional permits on these small lots while this issue is being studied.

The panel presentation will discuss the issues that we will address when the code is amended. Panel participants will include a neighborhood representative, and representatives from the King County Master Builders and the Seattle Planning Commission.

Comments and suggestions will be welcomed at the meeting. More info and online comments available here.

Developing Small Single Family Lots Panel Discussion — Wednesday, November 14th — 6:00-7:30pm — Bertha Knight Landes Room, Seattle City Hall

‘South Park Food Bridge’ proposal wins 520 Reuse design competition

20120925-161549.jpgAll images by Nicole Lew and David Dahl

A floating food bridge along the Duwamish River. What better way to reuse the old 520 Bridge pontoons once the replacement span opens in 2014? This was the winning proposal selected by a jury of experts in the Transforming Seattle’s 520 Floating Bridge design competition. And why not? The idea can’t be any more far-fetched than driving a car across Lake Washington on top of floating concrete…

The winning project, South Park Food Bridge by Nicole Lew and David Dahl, proposes towing the pontoons to the banks of the Duwamish River and putting them to dual use, as a floating wetland and community farm. From the project description:

Garden plots are excavated from the pontoon’s upper layer. Operable and removeable greenhouses enhance growing capabilities in Seattle’s climate as well as providing protection from nearby wildlife.

The boardwalk creates a buffer between the agricultural plots and the wetland ecosystem, and creates a public promenade along the river.



Let’s do it! More South Park Food Bridge images after the jump. Images from other competition projects here.

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SLIDESHOW: Competition designers reuse 520 floating bridge pontoons

“Floating Farm” — by Nianlai Zhong

A new exhibit for the Transforming Seattle’s 520 Floating Bridge design competition opened this week, for which over 70 entries were received. The competition asked architects and urban thinkers how best to reuse 520’s 33 pontoons, each made of almost 10 million pounds of concrete. When viewed all together, the design ideas create a rich collection of possibilities — ranging from practical to fantastical — while making strong arguments against just grinding up the pontoons and throwing them away.

WSDOT currently does not have a plan for the old pontoons once the new bridge opens in 2014. Recycling is an option, but not necessarily a good one because of the intense energy needed to crush concrete and separate its steel rebar. Competition organizers hope these hypothetical ideas — urban farm, ferry dock, park space…. global-warming rescue rafts — will led better and more sustainable solutions.

The competition winners will be announced tonight during a jury discussion forum as part of the Seattle Design Festival. Moderator Peter Steinbrueck will host competition jurors Robert E. Hull (Miller|Hull Partnership), Ev Ruffcorn (NBBJ), Shannon Nichol (Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, design firm for UW’s new Rainier Vista), Ellen Sollod (Sollod Studio), and Mark Hinshaw (LMN Architects, design firm for UW Station). Event and ticket info here.

In the meantime, here are a few of the competition ideas. More are on display at the AIA gallery (1st & Stewart, until October 26th).

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