Page 1



Heather Spencer [405] 795-8359 8817 NW 80th Oklahoma City, OK 73132

Contents |


4 6 10


24 38

16 18 36



56 | 2

Society•Empathy•Legacy Manifesto

Architecture must embrace sociology instead of ignoring it. America’s melting pot has cooled and its contents left to separate by circumstance, highways, and gates into sterile burrows of color, income-tax bracket, lifestyle, and opportunities. We must reach beyond solving the challenge dictated by human form and action, and move past solutions bound by resources and technology. As Architects we must also address the puzzle of the human condition. Which, at its most basic level, begins in the microcosm of the Home. Architecture must reclaim the Home: designing environments that promote interaction between diverse neighbors, and accommodate and encourage the heart-wrenching, harmonious complexity of empathy. Empathy encompasses compassion for the less fortunate, appreciation of divergent viewpoints, and responsibility to future generations. As sociological architects we have the capability and responsibility to nurture these ideas within our culture. We can facilitate the change of the expression of Home into a place for people and not possessions: with personal connections to where residents learn, work, shop, and play. Architects can lead the way by redefining desirability in ways that value empathy over greed, ensuring not just the legacy of the profession, but the legacy of our society.


Society Harris Armstrong: Ethical Society, 1962

Game Night

Studio Life

Trip to Phoenix

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi.

Trip to Seattle


“Empathy is, in many respects, the quintessential intersubjective experience: the vicarious sharing of another’s emotion. To students of prosocial motivation, empathy is one basis for moral action: empathy for another’s distress is often a motivator of helping and altruism. To scholars concerned with culture and society, empathy is part of the emotional connection between people that fosters mutual sensitivity and reduces selfish concern. To developmental psychologists, the growth of empathy reveals a young child’s capacity to respond to another’s emotional experience, which is a foundation for social and emotional understanding. Each perspective to empathy reflects its intersubjective quality.” – Ross A. Thompson “Empathy and its origins in early development”, Intersubjective Communication and Emotion in Early Ontogeny

“In any situation, the best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.” -Theodore Roosevelt "Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value." - Albert Einstein “Life becomes harder for us when we live for others, but it also becomes richer and happier.“ -Albert Schweitzer “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” -Henry Ford





RowHouse Alternative Multi-Student Housing

Investigating the balance between private, semipublic, and public spaces. What is an efficient arrangement for four different college students that maximizes autonomy but minimizes maintenance? Which spaces are vital and which spaces are less important or even unnecessary for a collection of college roommates compared to a traditional family home? How can neighborhood interaction be balanced with household interactions?



1 details Residential • 39'x20' footprint • 1278 sqft • 4 bed, 1.5 bath • Third Year


1 Upper Floor: 3 bedrooms, a small built-in office area, large bathroom

2 Ground Floor: 1 bedroom, small kitchen, living room, ½ bath, covered patio

3 Entry: stair and storage detail


3 An early self-directed project (12/2008) investigating an alternative approach to student housing. I was currently living the “suite style� dorms on campus, where four students share two full bathrooms and a small common living space and kitchenette. I was interested in a similar arrangement that would allow more mature students the autonomy granted in a traditional row house. I minimized the common areas in favor of larger bedrooms, because many functions of the residential family room are carried out in the dorm room of

college students (ie: studying, reading, exercising, TV and web surfing, etc). I also removed the traditional dining room, due to the improbability of large family gatherings, or even coinciding schedules of the student residents. However, the small kitchen and living room are supported by a large outdoor area that would foster social interaction among both roommates and neighbors.




Impact Small Spaces

3 | 10

Compact spaces consume less energy and resources, permit a higher density, and allow users an opportunity to consider the difference between everyday “needs” and “wants”.




The idea for this self-directed project (12/2010) was planted when I studied the Basque culture and their arrival in the Americas in a cultural geography course. Inspired by a traditional Basque sheepherder’s wagon and intended for fireside campsite enjoyment, this multi-level pop-up traveling trailer contains the weekend essentials for four. The trailer utilizes solar panels for its minimal electrical needs. Although some of its features require water line attachment, the baskWagon offers increased comfort and mobility when compared to a pitch tent and is more efficient than a RV.


1 details

• • •


7'x5' Sleeps 4 Fifth Year

1 The top level can be raised independently of the other compartments.

2 The liner of the rest room is shown transparent for diagram purposes only, and would insure privacy.



details Residential • 10'x10' • 150 sf • Fourth Year

1 A high window lights the sleeping area. 2 The unit would be a great mother-inlaw suite or guest house.

3 A lofted sleeping area utilizes the

upper volume of the space, and has room for a work desk.




This self-directed summer project (5/2010) was inspired by my extended stay on the couch of my childhood home after my bedroom had been passed on to my younger sister. I was left wondering how much space a room for myself would occupy in our backyard (not pictured) and the compact Cube is the result. Not technically a geometric cube, the upper portion is tilted up to allow a clerestory window near the sleeping area.

2 3



Personal Introduction

I’ve always been interested in the ‘people’ side of architecture: the way that human life and interactions influence spatial design. Although important throughout my schooling, it was not exactly a conscious philosophy until more recently. When we were dividing into groups for a recent project, I remember being asked by a classmate ‘what style I designed in’. Before I could answer he replied ‘well, you’re more about the people than the style, aren’t you?’ This was true, my architectural expressions had lacked any sort of visual cohesion, but taken independently it was easier to understand that the various theoretical clients and users over the years had had more impact on my design ‘style’ than any glossy nightshot in a magazine.


Along with my BArch, I have a Minor in Sociology. I enjoy learning new software, and become proficient with them fairly quickly. I am currently experienced with AutoCAD, SketchUp, PhotoShop, InDesign, and Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, & Excel. I have basic knowledge of Revit, 3dsMax, and Illustrator. I typically use Windows OS, but have experience with Mac OS. I have an elementary understanding and control of Spanish and ASL, with hopes to increase proficiency in both. I enjoy reading, writing, and photography covering a wide variety of subjects.

“Heather has been interested in being an architect since she was a little bitty person. I was looking at my ten-yearold granddaughter and thought ‘wow, she was that age when we bought her her first architect kit.’ I never knew someone who knew what they wanted to be so earlyand has kept to it.” -Gayle Spencer (Stepmother)

Heather is always willing to listen to anybody who asks for a second opinion on their projects. She is everybody’s go-to crit and gives honest advice while maintaining each person’s own ideas. She knows a lot of different programs and will help you without making you feel stupid for asking. -Patricia Doutey (5th year AE Student)


About Me|


GreenWik Shipping Container Emergency Relief

A competition following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti in January 2010, that envisioned shipping containers as first response to disaster stricken areas. Residential and Community buildings of various size and function were needed. I saw value in the system in place to transport these containers, and designed each unit to retain that “shippability� as an aspect of their viability in a real world situation.

3 | 18



details Residential • 8'x20' container • Sleeps 6 • Fourth Year

One of many tent cities that formed after the dev astating 7.0 magnitude earthquake in early 2010

Haiti has a history of using sustainable building materi als and practices, though not necessarily by choice

Carnival at Jacmel, illustrat ing the true spirit of Haiti: vi brant, joyful, dignified, spiri tual, resilient, & resourceful

PalmleafCommunit y A Residential entry in GreenWik’s Shipping Container Design Competition for Emergency Relief in Haiti and other disaster-stricken areas (SP 2010). Focusing on sustainable design was a must for this competition, since the infrastructure in disasterstricken areas is often unreliable and frequently nonexistent. The Palmleaf Community can function without connecting to an energy or water grid, utilizing composting toilets, natural ventilation and light, gravity-fed washing basins, and solar panels. They were also designed to minimize on-site construction, and retain their container features


that allow for easy transportation. The fronds of palm trees, which are native to Haiti and present on it’s national flag, have a positive symbolism in many cultures, much like these relief shelters would have a positive effect in communities affected by disasters. The frond also inspired the radial community layout of a large group of these shelters.

Haitian Flag

multi-unit layout: create private space for each unit, while maintaining a strong sense of community. radiating community plan

1 Section


2 Outdoor Patio

created by folding down the protective shutter over the large sliding doors


2 | 20


Garden Showers A Community Building entry in GreenWik’s Shipping Container Design Competition for Emergency Relief in Haiti and other disasterstricken areas (SP 2010). These public units utilize gravity to provide refreshing showers without the need for electricity or running water. The shipping containers maintain their structural integrity to allow them to be easily deployed and redeployed to disaster sites as necessary. Each unit (one male, one female) has a covered waiting area and five private, individual stalls. A large stall at the end of each unit provides space for families with young children or special needs. In the


stalls, slats of antibacterial recycled plastic lumber boards allow water to quickly drain onto a slanted plane that directs the runoff to weep holes in the side of the unit. The runoff is then collected in a garden that would also use biological compost from the residences to provide fruits, vegetables, and herbs for the community, while minimizing negative environmental effects.

“When it comes to emergency relief, economy and sustainability aren’t just design considerations -they’re the only options.”

1 details Community • 3rd Place- Civic Category • 8'x40' containers • 6 Stalls per Unit • Fourth Year


1 A pair of shower units and their

garden runoff garden in between

2 Two residents working a community vegetable garden in Ivwa, Haiti




details Pieces of Projects

3 | 24

I truly enjoy figuring out the minute design details involved in projects of various scale. I’ve highlighted a few of my favorites: one of a group design-build project and a few from my comprehensive studio project.


easy pill cap


1 The first prototype, built out of layers of

lazer-cut chip board scrap. The test pill was a tic-tac, a small capsule. The prototype was built with a single chamber. The purple bit of paper was added during construction, for stability.

diameter: 1 7/16 in depth: 11/16 in chamber depth: 1/4 in

The EZPC is a pill cap designed to make the process of removing the correct dosage of a pharmaceutical tablet or capsule easier, without voiding existing child safety features incorporated into most existing pill caps. The EZPC was specifically intended to aid those with limited dexterity, stability, sight, or memory. With existing pill bottles, most people will try to shake out the correct number of pills into the open cap. For those with shaky or aching hands, this process can be painful, difficult, frustrating, and embarrassing. Spilt pills can become contaminated, can be difficult and time-consuming to pick up, pose a safety hazard for pets and children, and are costly to replace. For patients with poor memory or sight, the EZPC can serve as a physical reminder of how many pills are to be taken at once. The EZPC was designed with today's environmental concerns in mind. There are existing similar systems that require multiple moving parts, intricate forms, and a bulkier profile. The EZPC uses less raw material, and less energy in production, because it only consists of two simple parts. The resulting system is not much larger than existing pill caps. The existing similar dispensing pill caps create a secondary opening for pills which allows the medication to bypass child-safety features. This is a serious concern; according to the Center for Disease Control, in one year 71,000 children visit the ER because of medication poisonings (excluding abuse and recreational drug use). Over 80% were because an unsupervised child found and consumed medicines.


Threads Supportive Rim Catch and Release Piston Chamber Pill or Capsule

Notch Sliding Tab



the phoenix



1 Before nailing any slats together our group tested different methods of stacking and spiralling until we came up with the look we desired.

2 In it's first of three lives, the phoenix was

topped with a river-rocked filled bowl and used as a birdbath. In it's second life it was topped with a metal plate and used as a patio table.

3 In it's third life, it was topped with a new bowl and filled with plants.





To keep the ends mysteriously free of nails or glue, each slat ½ was nailed to the two slats below it, and not at the corners.

Every other layer was flipped, vertical or horizontal, to create visual interest.

Each layer was rotated 18, completing a 90rotation every fifth level

The patterns were repeated, creating a vortex reminiscent of a bird's nest.



1 Bricktown International Dance Theater 2 Exploded Detail of Copper Green Screen Lattice

2 Section Model, showing planter and foliage


In order to give warmth and maintain the urban edge of this reticulated facade, I designed a green screen that attached to the external structure. The green screen minimized solar heat gain along the east facade, which was mostly glass, and also gave a distinct character to the design that could be recognized from afar, and experienced up close from both the interior and exterior of the theater.


green screen






The acoustic panels required for improved sound quality throughout the performance hall needed to be incorporated with the lighting, speakers, and HVAC systems in order to maintain the warm, clean, rhythmic, character of the space. This system allows for modification and a variety of arrangements. Elements are out of the audience’s line of site, increasing focus on the performers, and enhancing the live theater experience. 1 View of Performance Hall and Sound Booth from Stage


multipanels Lighting can be recessed into the short side of the panels, facing the stage. I also used a grilled long panel as the return grill for the performance hall.

Metal frame is securely mounted to wall in performance hall. Alternating rows of acoustical panels are attached to the frame. Wires can be run vertically without detection, and can be easily accessed by removing a single panel.

Speakers can be recessed into the short side of the panels.



1 |HeatherSpencer

* Section drafted in AutoCAD and rendered and populated in Adobe Photoshop. To keep the focus on the performance hall in the center of this Bricktown International Dance Theater, I made sure that space had the most color and detail- the most life. Entourage was used as a quick scale and to explain the functions of various spaces.





Professor Jerry StiversProfessor Stivers is like the dad of Studio. He talks in a way that simultaneously makes everyone in the room feel respected yet settle down and pay close attention. I remember when he brought donuts and juice up to studio early one morning after a long charrette and effortlessly eased everyone’s mind. Besides being a great personal role model, he is also one of the first professional architects that I had the privilege of knowing. Our class has visited his firm and it was amazing to see how a person’s character can shape and influence a work place. I hope any office I end up at has it’s own such character.


Professor Suzanne BilbeisiProfessor Bilbeisi was the first architecture professor I ever met. Her unfaltering composure and professional attitude has both intimidated and inspired myself and my peers into being better students and better designers. We have heard many anecdotes about her professional and academic career, and whenever I give a presentation I try to channel her confidence, posture, and air. She is also an admirable example of a woman who has balanced her own interests, motherhood, marriage, and career. She inspires me to one day be able to do the same.

Professor Mohd Bilbeisi‘Mohd’ is that one ‘black sheep’ of our studio family. He encourages his students to be innovative, free-thinking, individuals who are not afraid to speak their minds. Appropriately, he is not afraid to be an animated living example of his own doctrine.

Stefanie LoweStefanie is like a sister to me. She was the creative force of my childhood, and I remember watching her sketch in silent awe and ogling her sculptures and paintings with innocent jealousy. Although our mediums differed more with each passing year, she is still the first to inspire me to express myself artistically- both before and during my pursuit of a place in the architectural profession.

Paris GerbitzParis is my baby sister, and although not a mentor to me, her presence is a guiding factor of my life. Born with Down syndrome, she has enriched my family with a softer way of viewing life, and I feel compelled to make the world the wondrous place she sees it.




rosarc ACSA/AISC Steel Design Student Competition

Entry in the ACSA/AISC Steel Competition (open category 2011), creating an icon in Portland, Oregan. This project focused on the correlation between a community’s values and a community’s architecture. Every aspect of the design drew inspiration from core values of this beautiful northpacific city, presented in a unique showpiece of architecture. The Rosarc is a Ferris wheel, where each of the sixty gondolas are hotel rooms, and the wheel is supported by an observation tower. The base contains a mix of uses which make the Rosarc a destination for both locals and visitors alike.




Aesthetically, the structure needed an established skyline and architectural canvas: one that could support a vibrant addition without clashing visually. Therefore, the search began with cities that did not have a pre-existing identifying structure: this project aimed to become the symbol of the city. Symbolically, the structure would need to represent its host city: both comply with and announce its values. The structure would need to convince locals to claim and identify with it, and entice visitors to investigate it. Practically, the structure should have function beyond a mere ‘structure,’ with a lookout post mounted continently atop it, almost as an afterthought. In addition to serving as an observation tower and abstract time piece, this structure contains a hotel,

restaurant, music venue, convention center, bar, gift shop, media stand, and snack booth. Steel provided the possibilities : Portland provided the inspiration. The Ferris Wheel is a structure uniquely suited for steel construction. Ultimately a tensile structure, the exterior ring must also support the loads of itself, the gondolas, and environmental forces such as wind and seismic activity. It’s a structure that utilized a multitude of steel components, including beams, tubes, and cables. Portland offered an active waterfront site, nestled along the heart of its downtown, neighboring various bridges of steel construction, and featuring views of three majestic peaks, a picturesque ridge of villas, and a 360 degree view of Pacific Northwest greenery.



fremont bridge



mt. tabor

> The site was located to

make the most of all the location had to offer, great views, an active waterfront, and easy access to downtown. Wind strength and direction were also a factor.

1 The restaurant at the top of the observation deck can function as a music venue offering the public stunning 360 views.

mt. saint helens



dominant winds

mt. hood sunlight

2 The Rosarc would have

an immediate effect on Portland's skyline and the waterfront along the Willamette River.

scenic ridge


iconology Portland, like many areas in the Pacific Northwest, has great potential for wind-generated electricity, and in fact, gets a significant amount of its energy from outlying wind farms. Portland is one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the world. However, wind farms, or even wind turbines are not traditionally located in or near cities for a three reasons: aesthetics, noise, and destruction to avian populations. All three of these issues can be solved by switching from the popular three-propped wind turbine to a blade tip power wind generator. Such generators are already in production by Honeywell, on a fairly small scale. The multiple fins of this system create a more ‘solid’ looking obstruction, effectively deterring birds from flying into it. This is an important factor to consider in a city known for its love of birds. The system is much quieter because it does not have the mounted gear box and also turns at a much slower wind speed. Aesthetically, the system has potential to symbolically reference both Portland’s nautical ties and eco-conscientiousness: looking like wind-billowed sails of a ship. Twelve of these generators are placed into the cable system of the Rosarc. Each is equipped with rings of LED lights, which can be used in time-keeping or for light shows on special occasions. The generated electricity is transferred to the main structure through the central axle, and offsets the operation costs of the hotel and other functions.


2 | 42





The wheel consists of 60 individually mounted gondolas that function as hotel rooms. The wheel rotates once every sixty minutes. The window in the top room is under-lit to display the current minute of the hour. The twelve wind generators are equipped to display the hour by lighting up dependant on their size (the largest being the twelfth hour, the smallest being the first). Tension loads are supported by cables, and diverted through the frames of the generators, creating a dynamic visual, representative of Portland’s endearing quirkiness. The outer frame is made up of beams and has tracks for the powerdriving wheels which control the speed of the Rosarc’s rotation. The cables are tied into a central hub measuring 14’ in diameter and 7’ in depth. At its edge, the wheel is 21’ deep. The wheel has a diameter of 532’ including the gondolas, at its tallest the Rosarc is 552’, making it the tallest building in Portland by a scant six feet. The Rosarc’s tower needed to be structurally capable of supporting the wheel, the considerable wind loads applied to it, earthquake conditions, and the observationdeck-level restaurant and its supporting spaces. The tower consists of two legs, connected at the bottom by an arched building reminiscent of Fremont Bridge nearby along the Willamette, and said spaces at the top. The legs consist of steel tube components and two hollow concrete towers that serve as vertical circulation. The base consists of three levels. The ground level serves as an entry and features a public lobby with a media stand, health-snack booth, and gift-shop. The second level contains the front desk of the hotel, the room loading dock, and a bar featuring Portland’s renowned local micro breweries. The top level contains private hotel functions and a large multipurpose room that can be rented out for various functions.

^ Diagrammatic sketches done during

Architectural Engineering consultation, determining the best combination of structure and aesthetics. The considerable depth of the towers insured stability in the seismically active area.

BG A quarter of the wheel, showing tension loads of the cables from the outer wheel to the inner hub, directed along the rims of the wind generators.

details Multipurpose: Retail, Civic, Hotel • 51787 sqft • 60 units • 4 commercial tenants

1 North and East Elevations of the observation

tower and base (without the wheel, and section axon of the tower showing circulation of elevators, emergency egress, and electricity and water lines.



accommodation The Rosarc Hotel is unique in that each room has a specific loading and unloading time, once every hour, lasting about four minutes. There is a bar near the loading dock, where patrons can enjoy themselves until their room makes it back down to them. Each unit is contained within a cylinder, the bottom of which houses mechanical functions and water storage tanks. The tanks are flushed and refilled in an automated process reminiscent of an RV hookup in hyper-drive when the unit is in the loading area. Most of the interior surfaces are thin rolled ribbons of steel, specifically designed to fit the curved walls of the cylinder. One continuous piece of steel forms the armoire, counter, luggage stand, dresser, trash receptacle, desk, and desk lamp. Another piece forms the side table and headboard. The full-length window on the east side of each room contains a number etched into the glass. Each window will be commissioned by a different local artist, turning the Rosarc into a design showcase. When the numbers are lit with LEDs from below, the etching glows, illuminating the current time. Each unit contains a stabilization mechanism to keep it level at all times. The materials are designed with fire safety in mind, and a sprinkling system is integrated into the cylinder, but a vertical escape chute is located in a hatch under the door in case of eminent danger.


1 2

1 View of Mt. Hood from a hotel room. The folded steel built-ins are visible on the left side of the room.

2 The loading dock, main desk, and

waiting area including local-microbrewery featuring bar.

3 Axon of a hotel room. Each room has

a full restroom and king size bed, catering to the traveling business person or adventurous honeymooners.

3 | 46


Fifth Year team: Heather Spencer Carlie Rhodes Jennifer Gallaher


capitol hill Transit Oriented Development

Mixed-use group project surrounding a new light rail hub in the Capitol Hill district of Seattle, Washington. The site consisted of four adjacent lots, bordered by a park, low-densitiy residential, mid-density residential, and retail along the main street. The program called for residential, retail, a farmer’s market, and other community-driven elements. We focused on the thriving arts community in the area, offering affordable housing, live-work studios, and a large art gallery embraced by a performance-arts inspired community plaza.


capitol hill|

to parking




community plaza grocery gallery

1 District and site location within Seattle, Washington.

2 Ground floor of all four sites: green is grass

or permeable pavers, gray is the existing transit buildings. Community spaces on all four sites are connected visually, focusing on the large plaza between a and b. The plaza offers space for a farmers market, art performances, outdoor dining, and break-out space for various retailers.

indie theater



garden plaza


development Available mass, restricted by height limitations and the four transit buildings.

Mass modified by setbacks and desired entry points based on traffic patterns.

Refinement focusing on pulling in pedestrians and defining the plaza.


capitol hill|

2 1 |HeatherSpencer

2 3

4 6


character The overall character of the development was a result of a study of Seattle’s architectural persona, the values of it’s residents, and our group’s goals for the project. The lower, more public zones of the development featured traditional masonry construction. This strong base supported a more modern and playful expression of the more private residential zones. Corrugated metal siding was a fun reference to Seattle’s maritime history, and offered a great canvas for the variety of window treatments. Each residence has interactive fenestration, allowing the residents to be artists of their environment. Besides artistic expression, sustainability is also greatly valued in this community, so we included green roofs, sunshades, permeable paving, and canopies that collect both rain-water and solar energy.

1 The storefronts along

Broadway feature large roll-up doors, promoting street-store interaction.

2 Each zone is materially and spatially distinct.

3 Along Broadway, building a grows to meet the surrounding building heights.


Multipurpose: T.O.D., Retail, Commercial, Civic, Residential • 367978 sqft • 118 residences • 35 commercial tenants

4/5 The community plaza

is the heart of the development, focusing visitors in retail areas.

6 A corner grocery

minimizes vehicular dependence.


capitol hill|

2-bedroom family unit

This 750ft2 family unit features an open floor plan that includes kitchen, dining area, office, and living room. The goal of this space was creating an efficient layout that felt large despite its size, and still supplied each necessary function. The interactive fenestration elements include a tilting window and vertical fin louvers, adjustable by interior hand-cranks.


luxury loft unit

There were 6 different luxury unit layouts in the development. This 815ft2 luxury unit features an open bedroom loft and outdoor balcony. This unit was designed with a young urban professional in mind, who would like a showpiece for entertaining friends, associates, or potential commissioners. The exterior facade of this unit is dramatized by the double-height tilt-out glass door. The other windows feature adjustable vertical shutters that operate on a pulley system, allowing each resident to contribute to the overall expression of the development.

residential Many features were repeated throughout the development’s 30 different unit types to create a unified community while still encouraging the individual expressions of its diverse members. There are various unit types in each building, but a selected unit from each building is represented below.



affordable unit

This is a single-bedroom affordable housing unit. At only 415ft2 the entire space was designed with efficiency in mind. The 55ft2 covered balcony accessed through a tilt-up glass door provides an oasis and a way to connect with neighbors. A privacy screen and adjustable vertical shutters insure solitude when desired.

live-work studio unit

These unique units are located on the ground floor, near the community plaza, so that the lowest level can be used as the resident's storefront or gallery. There is a small lofted second floor and studio apartment on the top floor, totalling 900ft2. The top floor can also be accessed through the interior of the building, allowing the resident to bypass the spiral stair, which is especially beneficial on moving day. The lower floor features a roll-up glass garage door like the typical retail units, and the top floor has adjustable vertical fin louvers.


capitol hill|

Fifth Year team: Heather Spencer Ed Ritter Sam Milligan Shyam Javali Isa Polomar


Shifts Civic Plaza Development

Mixed-use group project to complete a series of municipal blocks in downtown Seattle, Washington with a development and civic plaza. Our group re-evaluated the needs of the area, focusing the majority of the program on residential development, including affordable housing. In addition to the required programmatic elements, we also included a large museum dedicated to the history and education of sustainablity in Seattle. The museum, along with lobbies, restaurant, and retail elements give the central plaza a sense of inclosure while insuring a constant state of activity.






1 details Multipurpose: Transit, Retail, Commercial, Civic, Residential • 250'x250' • 627296 sqft • 38 floors • 25% Affordable Housing


Retail: Transit: Office: ResiCivic 13 tenants: 4 floors total 10 floors dential: Plaza 3 Eateries 7 service bays 164888 total 10 Communities: Stores 70 bike/motorcycle 248 units Museum: 1025900 rentable 261 vehicle spaces 156290 rentable ft²

32898 ft²


Vender Locations 338 total parking Available



10160 ft exterior 216110 ft² total

1 The plaza extends up

the green roof of the museum, offering great views of the plaza and surrounding area.

2 The museum features

a large picture window that acts as the face of the development to the southwest.

BG Shifts Tower and

context, including Seattle City Hall to the Northeast, Columbia Tower to the North, and historic Smith Tower to the South.





In order to increase awareness of sustainable issues, our external skin was designed to be both functional and visually distinctive. This iconic element serves as both lateral bracing, thermal envelope, and heat harvester. The diagonal planes direct warm air from the sunny side of the building to colder shaded side. In summer, the system can be used in conjunction with the internal passive ventilation system to pull hot air out of the building through the operable windows in the residential units.

Residential Lobby

Express Elevators to SkyLobby

Office Lobby

Service Elevator

Vender Stall

OfficeServing Elevators

Starbucks with loft. Mail Boxes

service elevator fire stairs

elevator lobby

rest rooms

fire stairs


rest rooms fire stairs atrium overlook



^ The Shift Tower has two separate Lobbies,

each with two faces: street and plaza. The residential side also houses residents mail boxes while the office side hosts a coffee shop that engages the civic plaza just outside its doors.


The Office floor plan can be easily divided into any size of smaller units, or rented by the floor.

1 Diagram of the ventilation systems. The

"termite model" of interior ventilation and the external double skin envelope.

2 The offices have a spatial connection with the

surrounding city and are regulated with crossventilation.



Basic Unit

A Mixed Income Residential Unit: 1 bed, 1 bath There are 10 of these 600ft2 flats in each two-floor community, and the structural grid of the tower was derived from their arrangement. All the units were designed with durability and efficiency in mind, featuring tankless water heaters, low-flow fixtures, replaceable carpet tiles, energy efficient appliances, non-VOC finishes, local or reclaimed materials, and shallow floor plans and large windows that allowed for a maximum of natural lighting and passive ventilation.

Affordable Unit

A single-level Affordable Housing Unit: studio There are various built-ins that minimize the cost for residents to move in and furnish their homes. There are four of these 375ft2 flats in each two-floor community. To help accommodate lowincome families, there are two lofts at 584ft2 and 697ft2 in each community that offer 1.5 bedrooms.

Luxury Unit

One of the single-level Luxury Units: 1 bed, 1 bath is standard, with an option of converting part of the living room into a second bedroom or an office. The Luxury Units are located on the corners of the building, maximizing their views of surrounding Seattle and Puget Sound. There are two of these 863ft2 flats, 4 6423ft2 flats, and 1 892ft2 loft in each twofloor community.



The upper twenty floors of The Shift Tower house ten two-floor communities accessed by a sky-lobby. The communities contain a variety of units, including multi-level lofts. The units are arranged to maximize opportunities for interaction among residences of different unit types. Also influencing the design of the tower was the desire for natural light to penetrate the core and for a passive ventilation system to minimize the project’s energy consumption. These shared spaces offer a place to exercise, connect with nature, interact with neighbors, or host larger gatherings.



service elevator


Lower Laundry

Community Living Room



service elevator


Shared Garden Balcony

^ ^ The alternating residential floor plans form

two-floor communities with a variety of shared community spaces.

1 The view of Seattle is expansive from the floor-to-ceiling windows of a Luxury Unit.

2 The residential community space with an


abundance of natural light and access to a large shared balcony overlooking Puget Sound.






Monograph - Empathy  

Portfolio and Manifesto of academic architecture works

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you