b9 Architects actively engages community in many ways. Through advocacy efforts we are active in discussion about critical urban design and planning issues in Seattle, WA. Many of our projects participate in a public design review process, contributing to an important dialog about design in our city. Recognizing the importance of communal experience, we encourage opportunities for interaction, both planned and spontaneous, in all our projects. We also engage the community with our studio space, located in a storefront in Pioneer Square, Seattle’s first historic district, where we participate in the First Thursday art walk and the arts culture of the neighborhood. Finally we volunteer our time to activities that resonate as a way of contributing to the local community.
Bradley Khouri, Principal of b9 architects, dedicates time outside of the practice to advocate on critical urban design and planning issues affecting the community in Seattle. His interest began with the Waterfront Seattle projec, co-chairing a Task Force at AIA Seattle and continued with an in depth examination of the Multifamily Zoning Code by the city of Seattle.
Bradley formed a small Task Force at AIA Seattle and work with planners at Seattle's Department of Planning and Development, Seattle City Council's Land Use Committee and City Council Central Staff to craft a more flexible zoning code. Following these personal interests Bradley became the President of AIA Seattle and served on the Seattle Planning Commission to continue advocacy work at a larger scale. He shares his passion around local advocacy with the office and stays connected to critical design and planning issues.
design review + process
b9 architects engages the community during the design process of many of its projects. A map shows current and completed projects located within Seattle's neighborhoods subject to a public dialog through a discretionary forum, aptly called Design Review. Many of these projects create discussions in their neighborhoods. Working with neighborhood councils and individuals has resulted in better designed projects and more informed neighbors. We enjoy this process, in which we integrate neighborhood concerns with our strong vision for the specific project and location.
A few notable projects that have gone through full design review:
We strive to create community within our projects, an ideal that emerged out of our work. Each project achieves varied communal experience. Courtyards allow residents to engage each other formally and unintentionally. The architecture and landscape design encourages these experiences, consistently located internal to the project but visible from the adjacent streetscape. Many of our courtyard spaces also establish a datum for the projects, formed in relationship to topographic conditions. Other communal experiences are created in stoops that directly engage the sidewalk and street, placed rhythmically along the facade of a structure.
pioneer square art walk
b9 architects is proud to call Pioneer Square our home, and one of the many ways to contribute to our neighborhood community and culture is that we participate in the Pioneer Square First Thursday Art Walk. Since 2013, b9 has opened its doors and emptied its walls to a number of talented local artists to showcase their work with month-long exhibitions and opening receptions on First Thursday.
By sharing our space and community with the neighborhood of Pioneer Square, we connect with people from a variety of professions and studies around Seattle. Just another activity that makes Pioneer Square such a vibrant place to be.
Past First Thursday exhibitions include:
"Photos for Nepal" by Emerson Richmond Burke
habitat for humanity
In May 2013, the b9 team traded in our office wear for work gloves and hard hats and got down to work with the dedicated Habitat volunteers at the La Fortuna site in Renton, WA. The weather was with us, and as the sun shone we labored with other volunteers from across the country. The La Fortuna project began in 2011 and will provide 41 new homes in a total of 8 buildings. 11 homes have been completed and are already occupied, with 5 more homes nearing completion.
As an unexpected treat, we happened to be present on the day that foundations for 3 more homes were being poured. The excitement on the job site was palpable on concrete pour day. The AmeriCorps volunteers and Habitat regulars were especially happy to see their concrete formwork, the result of weeks and weeks of labor, finally being put to its intended use. At the end of the day, after the pump truck pulled out, three visits from a concrete mixer, and some expert trowel skills on the part of our crew, the foundations for three new homes were in place.
This project, and others like it, is making affordable home ownership a reality in Seattle and King County. The homes at La Fortuna are part of an ambitious project and Habitat will be looking for volunteers for many months to come. If you have an interest in volunteering visit www.habitatskc.org for more information.