Saturday, November 16, 2013

Ryther Campus Renewal

Ryther is a children's behavioral heath services institution located in North Seattle. For generations Ryther has provided care for children in the state foster care system, many of them suffering from abuse, neglect, and addiction.  Over the years, state funding has become leaner and a funding gap has opened up between the cost of providing care and what the state is willing to pay for it.  Ryther has always managed to bridge this gap through philanthropic support, but doing so has been a constant struggle. Recently, Ryther began a new initiative to secure their future by opening their doors to private outpatients, becoming a health care provider that can serve any child or family that needs help with the wide range of issues where Ryther is uniquely qualified to help.

To facilitate this transition, Ryther has embarked on a major fundraising initiative to renovate the campus. While much of our work will focus on the nuts & bolts of getting the buildings fixed up and ready for another generation of service, we've also been tasked with something really special:  Transforming a fairly non-descript institutional campus into a place that is expressive of its unique nature, namely that Ryther is a mission driven institution, dedicated to healing families and helping children to realize a better life.

Throughout the process we have looked for opportunities to express the child centered nature of the institution through architectural form.  Just in time for Ryther's annual fundraiser, we unveiled our design for the new campus entry and lobby.

The project  features many unique design elements, but the common theme that runs throughout is that they are invitations to children to engage with their environment in an open-ended, creative, and imaginative way.  They are a way of expressing, in built form, the values of the institution.  They are playthings for children, but also a means to communicate Ryther's values to parents who are making choices about where to take their children for help.

Design Team: David Neiman, Liz Pisciotta, Erin Feeney. John Barker Landscape Architect

New campus "kidscape" features playful hopping stones that weave along the entry path and into the garden areas. A forest of colorful poles are used to mount bird and bat habitats, lighting fixtures, and signage.  Footholds on the poles allow kids to climb and walk among them.

New entry to the clinical services building.  A leaf shaped canopy captures rainwater from the upper roof and channels it into a new stream bed.  The building entry features a playful entry door sized just for kids.

The walls, ceiling, and floor of the lobby takes the color ideas that begin in the kidscape and extends them inside.  The design features a playful mix of ceiling coves, niches, skylights and pendant lights.  The kids corner can be accessed by crawling through big holes in the surrounding walls.

The campus lobby kids corner.  A  peaceful, skylit space intended to encourage calm behavior, the room is decorated with a sea-to-sky mural, soft furniture, and a thickened wall that kids can nest inside.

Therapy rooms feature a inviting floor-play corner, colorful lighting, and decorative ceiling clouds.

First brainstorm sketch of the pole forest.

In addition to being Ryther's architect, we are also proud supporters.  If you wish to join us in making a donation to Ryther, here is the link to their fundraising page.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Madrona Art Walk Today 2-5pm

Our office is participating in today's Madrona Art Walk.  We are featuring the work of Iona Park, a recent emigre from New York to Seattle.  Iona's work features bold color and texture studies as well as landscapes and still life studies.  Drop on by, check out the art, get the whirlwind tour of our new office while you're at it.  1421 34th Ave Suite 100