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Architecture and design

Winter 2008

Who moved my cupola?

During a quiet weekend last July, a crew came to campus to steal away one of the University’s oldest landmarks–the Ferry Hall cupola. The quaint 12-foot by 12-foot Georgian-style structure had already survived more than a century and a major relocation. Now it was on the move again.

A lot of Washington State University’s history is tied up with the architectural element, starting with the original Ferry Hall, the University’s first dormitory, occupying the south end campus. Men and women lived on separate floors there until Stevens Hall, the residence dedicated for women, went up on the opposite end of campus.

While he liked the … » More …

Spring 2008

Ode to a tea set

A HANDCRAFTED STERLING SILVER TEA SET, its long rectangular surfaces modern in design, gleams from its perch on a bookshelf in an apartment high above Seattle, the home of the man who designed it.

The simple geometry of the set’s four serving pieces and tray belies the years of effort that went into its creation.

The same is true of another of architect Phillip Jacobson’s projects— much larger in scale than the tea set—the emerald-hued, glass-encased Washington State Convention and Trade Center just a few blocks east of the apartment.

The retired director of design at TRA Architecture and Engineering in Seattle, Jacobson has had … » More …

Spring 2006

Faith and imagination transform a Pullman landmark

Faith and imagination came into play last spring when Jillian Potts (’06 Pol. Sci./Pre-Law) signed an agreement to lease a unit at the Greystone Church Apartments sight unseen. Not there was anything to see. It was months before the walls of her apartment would even be built.

Still, with just the blueprints as a guide, Potts committed to one of the most exciting projects Pullman has seen of late.

Greystone Church, a long-neglected century-old landmark on College Hill, found new life last fall as an apartment house for 47 tenants, the majority of them Washington State University students.

The challenge for the new owners—Glenn Petry, … » More …

Summer 2008

Parkinson’s house

For a Parkinson’s patient, every day is different. One day the symptoms could include tremors and muscle stiffness. Another might bring difficulty eating and swallowing. But every day, Parkinson’s is a progressive, chronic, debilitating disease that can require special and specific accommodations.

Over 10 years, Wendy Holman’s mother lived in 10 different facilities. Each time her needs changed, she had to find a new home to accommodate her new condition. Dick Almy’s father has a very different story. He lost some cognitive abilities and ended up in a locked ward with Alzheimer’s patients. But his dementia was very different from theirs, said Almy. And because … » More …

Winter 2008

Catastrophe to Triumph: Bridges of the Tacoma Narrows

To the relief of many commuters, Tacoma’s new suspension bridge over the Narrows opened in summer 2007, joining the long-serving 1950 span that connects Tacoma to the Kitsap Peninsula. Both Tacoma Narrows bridges, however, are heirs to the dark and twisting legacy of “Galloping Gertie,” the original Narrows bridge that tore itself apart in the wind. Catastrophe to Triumph tells Gertie’s story, and the stories of the ensuing successful bridges, using a wealth of archival photographs, exhaustive engineering details and engaging character studies.

In one of the most compelling sections of his book, historian Richard S. Hobbs captures the drama of the ill-fated 1940 bridge, … » More …

Fall 2002

Sewing 911: Practical and Creative Rescues for Sewing Emergencies


Practical is the operative word for this attractive sewing manual by Washington State University alumna Barbara Deckert (’75 English)—from the spiral binding that enables the book to lie flat when open, to the abundance of color photographs illustrating both details and finished garments, to the text’s clarity of organization throughout. In five chapters, Sewing 911 provides solutions to accidental fabric injuries, shortages of fabrics, buttons, and thread, defective design details, fitting flaws, and surface problems such as ironing accidents, spots and show-through, and “finicky fibers and weary weaves.” Four appendices deal with sewing machine problems, emergency supplies, stain removal, and burn testing for fiber … » More …

Fall 2008

The New Virtualism: Beijing, the 2008 Olympic Games, and a new style for world architecture

Something significant is happening in Beijing. It has to do with proclaiming a new style of world architecture at the dawn of the twenty-first century. I call it “The New Virtualism,” and because there are now enough of these buildings in existence, for the first time I can describe the “looks” of this new style.

It is not that New Virtualist architecture is found only in Beijing. As a matter of fact, unlike past architectural styles, which were always regional movements before spreading their influence further afield, New Virtualism is the first architectural style in the history of the world that is immediately global in … » More …

Fall 2002

Great Lodges of the National Parks

Teddy Roosevelt once claimed the best idea America ever had was its national parks. After flipping the cover open on Great Lodges of the National Parks, by Christine Barnes, readers should have an easy time understanding why he said that.

The book is an eye-grabber, thanks in part to the work of Washington State University alumna Linda McCray (’81 B.A. Fine Arts), who designed and illustrated it, and to the photographs of Fred Pflughoft and another WSU alum, David Morris (’93 B.A. Pol. Sci.). McCray makes room in her design for double-page photo spreads that showcase the natural beauty of 11 Western national parks and … » More …

Spring 2006

Doggy Dream House

Basil was a dog in need of a home. And with just 30 hours to assess the whippet’s personality and create and execute a design, a group of Washington State University design students were determined to give him one.

It was an intense competition with “a tremendously difficult timeline,” says Keith Diaz Moore, assistant professor of architecture and landscape architecture, who coordinated the annual design-challenge charrette for the Interdisciplinary Design Institute. “To complete everything in 30 hours is pretty amazing—and to see the delicacy of some of these solutions is fascinating.”

More than 100 students from a variety of disciplines—architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, and … » More …