Tobias Jimenez spent his childhood in the type of settlement that he and his colleague Sean Anderson are now striving to improve.
The structures “have no electricity,” Jimenez says. “None have potable water. They’re not connected to the sewer. It’s not sanitary.”
Jimenez (’17 Arch., ’19 M.Arch.) was born in Pasco but moved to Colima, Mexico, with his parents as an infant. They raised him in an informal settlement— “like a favela,” he explains—on the city’s outskirts. “You’re focusing on surviving. You’re spending most of your time and energy trying to meet your basic needs. Living there is one of the reasons I decided to … » More …
A green furry dragon named Elliot living in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. A twisted and pathetic creature yearning for a ring in Middle Earth. A monstrous ape, an alien jungle, a future dystopian city.
If any of these cinematic creations will capture the imaginations of moviegoers, they need the magic of visual effects created by wizards like Eric Saindon ’96. Saindon’s own imagination was stirred by animated films as a kid, which led to over two decades designing effects and leading teams of visual effects artists on some of the largest blockbusters on screen.
Jason Chan ’99 had to travel roughly 10,000 miles to satisfy a childhood curiosity. “I grew up in Singapore and the rate of urbanization is incredible there,” explains Chan. Interested in engineering and design, “architecture felt like a natural step.”
Chan, who specializes in medical and research facility architecture, first pursued his passion in Pullman. “I definitely had to look at architectural history and design studies with critiques. (Being a Cougar) helped me develop design skills,” Chan says.
Now a principal and regional leader for the research sector at Perkins+Will in Houston, Texas, his design prowess is on full display in concrete ways.
We know at least a few of the reasons why rural communities go into decline. In eastern Washington, technology has radically improved agricultural efficiency at the cost of manual labor jobs. Technology, in the form of trucks and automobiles, has also replaced the railroad that once connected the dots of towns in a web of mutual trade and support. When the on-farm jobs disappeared, the commercial support base in small communities did, too. Banks, cafes, repair shops closed, leaving town after town with decrepit central cores. Brain drain takes young people to urban areas in search of employment—and the vicious cycle becomes a death spiral.
Standing on the beach at Smokiam Park, I dip my hand in the lake. The water is soft, slippery, almost squishy feeling. It’s full of sodium carbonate—washing soda. It’s a tiny lake, and on its southern beach is Soap Lake, a town experiencing a little renaissance.
Locals credit Washington State University’s Rural Communities Design Initiative for assisting their town of 1,500 in the eastern Washington scablands with improvement efforts. Soap Lake declined from fame and modest prosperity to a near ghost town but has recently rediscovered its pulse.
“Smokiam” is a Tsincayuse word that means “healing waters,” so maybe the sense of … » More …
The architectural responsibility of making more than just buildings
When the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, planned to expand their convention center in the late 2000s, they wanted a structure that would reflect the city’s environmental values while tripling the meeting space of the downtown facility. The Vancouver Convention Centre West, designed by LMN Architects and completed in 2009, exceeded their vision: The gentle slope of the 6-acre green “living roof” provides bird habitat; the building is heated and cooled by seawater; and fish and shellfish inhabit the base of the building.
The Vancouver project fits exactly with the philosophy of the Seattle-based architects … » More …