Worthy and Associates

Specialty: Community parks, recreation, environmental enhancement, transportation-related projects
Management: Steve Worthy, principal; Madora Lawson, manager
Year founded: 1983
Headquarters: Seattle
urrent projects: Willis D. Tucker Community Park; four parks and recreation sites in Kirkland; Homer Harris Park, Seattle

Life is definitely good,” said Steve Worthy, principal of Worthy and Associates.

Homer Harris Park
Image courtesy of Worthy and Associates
Steven Worthy and Associates designed Unity Plaza at Homer Harris Park in Seattle. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held on May 14.

The 22-year-old firm finds its hands full with a mainly public client roster facing budget and environmental challenges. “We’re very much focusing on landscape architecture with value-conscious low impacts to budgets, environmental systems and extended life cycles,” Worthy said.

But the value-conscious approach hasn’t meant less landscaping — just a different type.

“In many cases clients are optioning for more landscaping,” Worthy said.

He described a water-conserving system his firm designed for Des Moines that will save the city $40,000 to $50,000 a year in water costs over conventional irrigation systems. Drip emitters distribute water precisely, and plants were chosen for their minimal water and maintenance needs.

The firm’s work of late has included a mix of urban streetscape projects and parks and recreation.

Its biggest project is the 83-acre Willis D. Tucker Community Park near Mill Creek. The $9.7 million park combines active sports fields, basketball courts and a skate park with trails and conversation areas. At buildout the park will contain gardens and an amphitheater.

Cooperative joint-use projects are also popular, and the firm has been working on several city-school parks projects in Seattle and Kirkland.

“It seems to be a very interesting mix, too,” Worthy said. “We’re doing a blend of active recreation and then mixing it with wetlands and habitat enhancement projects. It creates this opportunity for environmental education.”

Worthy and Associates has also undertaken some private-sector work, including residential and community cooperative projects. “A lot of people are getting really excited about community gardening,” Worthy said. As baby boomers near retirement, he said community gardening will be a growing specialty.

Though the firm has added a community planner and an environmental planner in the past year, Worthy said staff growth has remained slow.

Still, the firm has been adding to its design repertoire, and seeks to establish itself as a designer for all scales, “from 1,000-acre resource conservation habitat areas to quarter-acre residential gardens,” he said.

Worthy said he sees the environmental regulations that affect his work as a positive: “We have found that regulatory issues have given us interesting design challenges and led to really great team building experiences with the sciences.”

Copyright ©2005 Seattle Daily Journal and DJC.COM.
Comments? Questions? Contact us.