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  2016 Building of the Year

Photos by Benjamin Benschneider Photography

The votes are in and DJC readers picked Hazel Wolf K-8 School as the 2016 Building of the Year. Runners-up were the Pierce County Readiness Center and Spokane Teaching Health Clinic. Honorable mentions to 200 Occidental, Marion West and Midtown 21. Hazel Wolf garnered 23 percent of the total votes.

The $39.2 million school is in the Pinehurst neighborhood of North Seattle, at 11530 12th Ave. N.E. It has 83,000 square feet of space for up to 680 STEM students, and integrates with its 3.2-acre site to create an indoor/outdoor learning lab, with a living wall in the main entry, green roofs and terraces. The curriculum is based on environmental learning.

The central courtyard has several teaching areas focused on plantings and stormwater management, including a constructed wetland. The courtyard extends up and over the administration area and art room to create more space for outdoor learning.

A botanical garden provides an outdoor laboratory, while a living wall at the main entry displays the school’s mission to the community.

“Hazel Wolf was a perfect synergy of a can-do user group embracing the challenge of a small urban site and finding creative ways to engage their unique environmental STEM program,” said Boris Srdar of NAC Architecture. “It was a true pleasure to be a part of the design process in the re-imagining of their needs.”

What the voters said:

  • “Love the composition of the simple forms and the vibrant colors. Driving by this place on a cloudy day makes me feel happy for the students that get to go here.”
  • “Very unique and inspiring to see a school with such an interesting design.”
  • “It is a beautiful building that makes the most of a small footprint.”
  • “This school is the smartest, most environmentally (oriented) school building I’ve ever seen! It’s a pleasure to spend time in this building.”
  • “Fantastic use of a tight space and great innovation shown in the use of the building as a teaching tool. Way to go!”
  • “Great use of color and 3-D space.”
  • “This is what 21st century education should look like.”
  • “This school is practicing what it preaches as a school focused on E-STEM education by integrating environmentally savvy practices into its own building.”
  • Project team
    Owner: Seattle Public Schools
    Architect: NAC Architecture
    General contractor: Lydig Construction
    Construction manager: Heery International
    Civil and structural engineer: Coughlin Porter Lundeen
    Mechanical engineer: Hargis Engineers
    Electrical engineer: Travis, Fitzmaurice & Associates
    Geotechnical engineer: Associated Earth Sciences
    Landscape architect: Murase Associates
    Food service/kitchen consultant: George E. Bundy & Associates
    AV consultant: Greenbusch Group
    Land surveyor: Pace Engineering
    Traffic engineer: Heffron Transportation
    NAC Architecture team
    Kevin Flanagan, principal-in-charge
    Matthew Rumbaugh, project manager
    Boris Srdar, principal designer
    David Shaffer, project architect
    Brian Love, construction manager
    Teresa Alvarado, architectural designer
    Sarah Finis, interior designer
    Lydig Construction team
    Bill Dobyns, project executive
    Matt McKinney, project manager
    Phil Malec, superintendent
    Joe Ness, assistant superintendent
    Tom Granger and Cody Scott, project engineers
    Rob Parker and Byron Kelly, safety officers
    Tim Casad, chief estimator

    Amazon Echo winner

    Luke Gemperline of Kilroy Realty has won the Amazon Echo in our random drawing of Building of the Year voters. Congratulations Luke!

    DJC Building of the Year
    is sponsored by:

    Photos by Ric Peterson Photography

    The 81,000-square-foot Pierce County Readiness Center had 14 percent of the total votes. It is a regional training center for the Washington National Guard that also can be rented out or used as an emergency shelter.

    Located at Camp Murry, the $29 million building houses special purpose and administration areas, arms vaults, an assembly hall, locker rooms and support space. It was made with insulated concrete forms, which are stacked like Lego blocks and filled with rebar and concrete to form walls.

    All exterior walls — about 43,200 square feet — were built with Nudura ICF blocks, and nearly 1,300 square feet of interior walls were created with ICF blocks. It took 115 days to install the blocks.

    Due to the multiple uses inside, the building has a complex geometry that required integrating several different types of roof systems with the walls.

    “The Pierce County Readiness Center was an outstanding example of the power of a collaboration through the design-build process,” said Dan Absher, president of Absher Construction. “The entire team — including DES, the Washington State Military Department, WJA and the many subconsultants and subcontractors involved — worked as a unified team to make this project succeed. We take great pride in building facilities for our military community and the Readiness Center will serve the Washington National Guard well.”

    What the voters said:

  • “Just a fan of the style in general. Modern and utilitarian at the same time.”
  • “This building is very inviting. It looks like a refuge from the outside world letting in lots of light for comfort and peace.”
  • “Because it’s made out of insulated concrete forms!”

  • Project team
    Owner: Washington State Military Department
    Architect and structural engineer: WJA Design Collaborative
    General contractor: Absher Construction Co.
    MEP/life safety engineer: BCE Engineers
    ATFP engineer: Protection Engineering Consultants
    Civil engineer: Tetra Tech
    Commissioning authority: Welsh Commissioning Group
    Development consultant: Abbey Road Group Land Development Services Co.
    Geotech: Earth Solutions
    Acoustical consultant: BRC Acoustics
    Testing: Materials Testing & Consulting
    Interior design: Wille Design
    Kitchen design: Mesher Shing McNutt

    WJA Design Collaborative team
    Greg Nespor, architect of record
    Todd St. George, structural engineer of record
    Clint Treat and Ryan White, project managers
    Melissa Caviezel, LEED coordinator
    Doug Heit, senior structural engineer
    Colin Foxley, structural engineer
    Matt Suhadolnik, senior landscape architect

    Absher Construction Co. team
    Mike Steinthal, director of government contracting and principal-in-charge
    Jae Chu, project executive
    Stephen Montalvo, project manager
    Jason Heidal, superintendent
    Jason Webster, assistant superintendent
    Matt Quijano and Landon Newman, project engineers

    Photos by Lara Swimmer Photography

    Getting 13 percent of the votes was the $16 million Spokane Teaching Health Clinic at 624 E. Front St. on Washington State University’s Health Sciences campus in Spokane.

    The 42,000-square-foot building has 58 exam rooms over two levels. It is run by Providence Health Care and supported by the consortium of Empire Health Foundation, Providence Health Care and WSU Health Sciences Spokane.

    The teaching clinic allows medical residents to serve patients while health sciences students from the campus learn alongside them.

    “The Spokane Teaching Health Clinic was an especially rewarding design-build process in which all team members truly collaborated,” said NAC Architecture project manager Jill Kurtz. “The facility is an innovative environment for teaching, learning, and team-based care, and we’re honored to have been part of fulfilling their mission.”

    What the voters said:

  • “Great building mission, getting students involved in the community.”
  • “It’s a great place to work, to teach and to provide collaborative care.”
  • “Beautiful structure and such a wonderful purpose: Form following function so artistically.”
  • Project team
    Owner: WSU Spokane Facilities Services
    Architect: NAC Architecture
    General contractor: Bouten Construction Co.
    Civil engineer: DCI Engineers
    Structural engineer: Coffman Engineers
    Landscape architect: SPVV
    Mechanical engineer: MW Consulting Engineers
    Electrical engineer: NAC Engineering
    Medical residency clinic design consultant: Boulder Associates Architects
    Environmental survey: Fulcrum Environmental
    Commissioning agent: Engineering Economics
    Special inspection consultant: GeoEngineers
    NREC consultant: TJG Consulting Engineers
    NAC Architecture team
    Tom Golden, principal-in-charge
    Jeani Natwick, medical planner
    Jill Kurtz, project manager
    Nathan Hauber, project manager, electrical engineer
    Kelly Hendrickson, interior designer
    Bouten Construction team
    Bill Bouten, team leader
    Brian Sayler, project manager
    Chris Webb, superintendent

    Honorable mentions

    200 Occidental
    JTM Construction

    The Marion West
    Runberg Architecture Group

    Midtown 21
    LMN Architects
    Howard S Wright

    Click here for full list of nominations and voter comments.

    Thank you to all voters and participants!

    DJC Building of the Year
    is sponsored by:


    Previous winners

    Cornish Commons

    Swedish/Issaquah Medical Center

    Sunset Electric

    Paul G. Allen Center for Global Animal Health