UW College of Built Environments E-news
September 2010  |  Return to issue home

College News

Sawyer Seminar on “Now Urbanism” Launches in October
"Now Urbanism: City-making in the 21st Century and Beyond" was awarded as a John E. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures by the Andrew J. Mellon Foundation to the University of Washington as a significant collaborative of the College of Built Environments and the College of Arts & Sciences. Assistant Professor Thaisa Way (Landscape Architecture) and Assistant Professor Margaret O’Mara (History) are co-leading the yearlong seminar, which will consist of a series of public symposia, workshops, and graduate seminars.

Hosted by the Simpson Center for the Humanities, the seminar will engage University faculty and professionals in the Seattle region to examine cities in terms of social justice, environmental urbanism, ecological design, activism, social networks, leisure and culture, and the role of the university in resilient urbanism. “Now Urbanism” is a central component of NEXT CITY, a two-year special initiative of the UW Office of the Provost that is focused on the challenges and opportunities of urbanization in the twenty-first century. A final schedule of Sawyer Seminar public discussions will soon be available on the CBE Web site: http://www.be.washington.edu/Events/

CBE Participates in Developing New Window Technology
Christopher Meek, a research assistant professor in the Department of Architecture’s Integrated Design Lab, is serving as a co-principal investigator on a project aimed at developing new energy-efficient and energy-generating windows. Funded by a National Science Foundation Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) grant, the research team, led by Minoru Taya, a professor in the UW College of Engineering, will develop a set of new switchable dyes and polymers as the basis for electrochromic windows (ECWs) and energy-harvesting (EH) ECWs. The integration of EH-ECW systems into building systems is the basis for a new concept called "locally harvesting and locally used” in which windows would generate a substantial portion of the energy used by a building, thereby reducing its overall energy consumption. The research team will also work on transferring this new integrated technology to residential and commercial building design and the construction industry, targeting the $20 billion window market. Read more.

Prize-winning chair (Photo by John Stamets)

The prize-winning chair. *

CBE Students Win at 2010 Chair Affair
Once again, students in the CBE Furniture Studio took several of the top prizes at the annual Chair Affair furniture design competition sponsored by the Interior Designers of Idaho. Rebecca Wilcox won Best Craftsmanship, Pornwhipha Lertcochalug won Best Functional Design, Dinah Dimalanta won Best Student Design, and Kela Martinez received an Honorable Mention. Read more.



Photo of house constructionBE Build: CBE Partners with Habitat for Humanity
Over two Saturdays in April, members of the CBE community participated in a CBE + Habitat for Humanity build in Seattle’s High Point neighborhood, helping to construct affordable homes for low-income families. Nearly 100 CBE students, faculty, and staff donned hard hats on the job site and dismantled over 500 feet of scaffolding, framed 1.5 stories, caulked walls, insulated ductwork, and more. According to Marty Kooistra, CEO of Habitat King County, one day of CBE’s efforts alone saved the organization $4,500 in labor. CBE plans to continue to offer BE Build opportunities in the future.

Photo of conference“Designing for Urban Food” Conference
On April 15 and 16, CBE hosted an interdisciplinary panel and all-day ideas charrette to consider key questions around the role of the planning and design professions in the urban food movement. Inspired to contribute to Seattle’s “Year of Urban Agriculture,” students led the charge by asking: How will we participate meaningfully in the work of building a vibrant, resilient, and just local and regional food system? Read more.

MCAA Student Chapter Wins National Competition
The UW Mechanical Contractors Student Chapter won first place in the MCAA 2009–2010 Student Chapter Competition with a top-ranked proposal for renovating the mechanical and plumbing systems for a hospital cafeteria. UW team members Joey Berger, Kyle Hughes, Matt Leigh, Matt Tong, Ted Wegrich and Tony Zuniga-Sanchez received the first-place trophy—which comes with a $5,000 prize—at the Awards of Excellence Breakfast at the Mechanical Contractors Association of America’s annual convention in San Francisco on March 31. It is the fourth time in 10 years that UW construction management students have won the MCAA competition. Read more.

Photo of students in studioCollab/Fab Studio Sprouts in Twisp
Students in Assistant Professor Rob Corser’s spring studio, which they dubbed the “Collab/Fab Studio,” built five small greenhouses, or “sprouthouses,” in Twisp, Wash., a first step in redeveloping 6.4 acres the U.S. Forest Service sold to the town, located in the Methow Valley of north central Washington. Read the Uweek.org article. Visit the Studio blog: http://collabfab.wordpress.com/

* Photo by John Stamets

September 2010 |  Return to issue home