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Design Portfolio

TOM COLE 3 1 3 8 Wetmore Ave. S Seattle, WA 98144 t c o l e @ u w . e d u 2 4 0 . 9 9 4 . 1 4 2 4







Isolated Ecologies (Masters Thesis)

Wellness Center

Greyhound Terminal

Architecture in Rome

Still Life, Landscape, Portrait

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Existing residential structures are adapted to function as housing for visiting researchers.

Prairies provide land for experimental manipulation and support species diversity.

Pedestrian ferry provides access to an island-wide network of hiking trails on a limited, weekend only schedule.

isolated ecologies

6 Location

Masters Thesis

McNeil Island, WA

description This thesis proposed a strategy for the reintegragion of McNeil Island in south Puget Sound. The island is the home to the former McNeil Island Penitentiary, one of the oldest prisons in the country. The above map illustrates an overall strategy for the island which seeks to bring a limited public presence to the island’s historic resources while introducing a new ecological research station. The isolation of the island over its 135 year history has made it a largely undeveloped ecological resource, rich with potential for study and experimentation.

isolated ecologies

7 Location

Masters Thesis

Hyde Point, McNeil Island, WA

description An observation tower represents one of the five components for architectural intervention on McNeil Island. Located on the highest point of the island, the tower lifts the casual visitor 50’ above the ground with views across the sound toward the town of Steilacoom, the departure point for the pedestrian ferry, and back towards the McNeil Island Penitentiary. The structure falls into a 10’ x 10’ module, creating a rather compressed internal staircase resulting in a more individualized experience of the site as a means of bringing the visitor into a state of reflection and contemplation.

isolated ecologies

8 Location

Masters Thesis

Prison Block, McNeil Island, WA

description The abandoned prison cell blocks are ripe for adaptation as an ecological specimen bank. There are a series of five triangular structures, and the initial design only addresses one of them, seeing that future development might determine whether the remaining four might be necessary for conversion. By carving into the top of the block as a way of day lighting the central courtyard. This space is used as the primary specimen preparation area, with the surrounding cells containing a modular storage system that is accessed by way of a four storey automated retrieval system.




isolated ecologies

9 Location

Masters Thesis

Butterworth Reservoir, McNeil Island, WA

description Butterworth Reservoir represents a component of abandoned water infrastructure that, without substantial development on the island, will never be used at a level of its’ past capacity. Therefore, the entire reservoir is open territory for experimentation and research. A light architectural strategy of linear docks is mapped onto the lake in order to support experimental mesocosms that control interior water conditions. Access is only available to researchers who can access the site by way of the existing paved roads.

Wellness center

10 Location

Comprehensive Studio

Belltown, Seattle, WA

description A wellness center for the Belltown neighborhood just north of downtown Seattle. The program was manipulated to include public showers and treatment to serve to social needs of a community stricken with high rates of poverty and homelessness. The design approach wrapped the corner of the street in solid program in order to direct the experience of the main swimming pool towards the existing community garden to the south. A large, porous public atrium fronts the busy street as a way of drawing in the community, providing a space for different users to collide.



Wellness center

11 Location

Belltown, Seattle, WA

description The central lobby acts as a mixing bowl, overlapping a variety of uses that continue out into the street. The most private part of the program, the spa and individual hygeine center, are held in a solid bar along the least trafficked side of the site. The more public components buffer the pool space from the busy street through a variety of screens that allow glancing views and communication across user groups.

Comprehensive Studio


Greyhound terminal

12 Location

Tectonic Studio

SoDo, Seattle, WA

description In a country lacking in substantial infrastructure for the development of high-speed rail, Greyhound Bus is poised to serve a growing demand for inter-city transit as automobile travel becomes more economically and environmentally costly. The design connects the bus depot to the adjacent light-rail transit station and bike path by way of a substantial plaza that mediates between spaces of travel. A central rain garden, clad in weathering steel, acts a beacon and space of contemplation in a heavyily industrial context. ABOVE The main terminal. RIGHT Conceptual sketch.


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2. 1. Ticketing 2. Terminal 3. Shipping 4. Office 5. Cafe 6. Garden







Greyhound terminal

13 Location

Tectonic Studio

SoDo, Seattle, WA

description A tectonic strategy was developed that provided an experiential contrast between the space of the bus depot and the central rain garden. Where the rest of the station has a clear hierarchy, from large concrete column to steel transfer girder to corrugated decking, the central garden is monolithic, extending vertically and setting the visitor apart from the typical experience of a bus station. Above Plan and section of the terminal. right Tectonic order of the main terminal.

Architecture in rome

14 Location


Verona & Rome, Italy

description A ten week studio in Rome began with a visit to the northern cities of Venice, Verona, and Vicenza. While exploring the myriad streets and sketching, a project for a temporary pavilion in Rome was also developed. ABOVE are sketches from the streets of Verona, a statue of Dante in the Piazza dei Signori and the rusticated base of the Anfiteatro Arena at the center of the city. Developing the ability to sketch in a variety of media was essential to capturaing the ever changing face of the ancient city. right is a watercolor sketch of Rome’s San Andrea della Valle cathedral.

Designed walking path through Rome explores

the margins of the historic city, bringing the visitor in contact with contested territories and marginalized communities.



a C entro

New Piazza

Architecture in rome

15 Location

Path • Pavilion

Re-Center Public Space

Monte Testaccio, Rome, Italy.

description Beginning by designing a walking path through Rome, the project for AIR 2010 ultimately centered on Monte Testaccio, the site of an ancient dumping ground for terra cotta amphora pots which has served various religious, military, and political finctions throughout the history of Rome. Now closed to the public, the temporary pavilion seeks to reconnect the public with the man made mountain by creating temporary stair which is accessed from the open plaza adjacent to the 19th century slaughterhouses that border the site.

still life, portrait, landscape

16 Location

Lene Tranberg Master Studio

Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA

description The studio, taught by visiting Danish architect Lene Tranberg, focussed on the development of a cenceptual approach to architecture. More concerned with design process than product, the highly iterative structure of the design process was intended to provide a forum for exploration and creativity. Working largely with physical models, a spatial strategy was developed that related to context at several scales. ABOVE Models illustrate an iterative process aimed at dividing the site into two major structures with an articulated path through the center. RIGHT Conceptual perspective.

Pioneer Place


l Yes

Pioneer Place

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Western Ave.

Western Ave.

Campus Plan

Define Path

Carve Solids

still life, portrait, landscape

17 Location

Lene Tranberg Master Studio

Sculpt Facades

Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA

description The iterative process developed into the construction of a program for a school of music. The central path, articulated by concave parabaloids that focus sound, simultaneously created spaces for the interior production of sound with the desirable effect of diffusing sound. Opportunities for daylight to interact with sound-forms were explored and a more stark contrast expressed through the structure’s materiality. ABOVE A practice room utilizes formal geometry to diffuse sound. RIGHT An exploded section relates the articulation of the walls to the interior space.

Education Master of Architecture Fall 2008 - 2011 University of Washington Seattle, WA

Work College of Built Environments

Bachelor of Arts

English & Music, 2006 University of Rochester Rochester, NY

Thesis Isolated Ecologies

Design for a future of McNeil Island, site of the nations last island prison. Exploring ideas of landscape and memorial through a historic site. Presented Dec. 2011

International Copenhagen Classroom August 2010 UW Program Supported by Scan|Design Foundation.

Architecture in Rome

September - December 2010 UW Architecture Program.

June 2011 - Present Shop Assistant - Building furniture and exhibit systems for the college including a redesign and fabrication of the college coffee shop. Required a working knowledge of wood and metal shop as well as AutoCAD. Specific projects include a system of steel rails to accept exhibit boards that interface with existing wood panels, plywood storage units, and the renovation of an existing coffee shop.

Department of Architecture

January 2010 - June 2011 Exhibit Assistant - Implemented exhibits of student work and the work of visiting professionals. Also worked assisting a professor produce weekly presentations. Required a creative approach to exhibit design and a working knowledge of graphic software.

University Photography

August 2008 - May 2010 Photographer’s Assistant - Using Adobe Suite to clean, organize, and distribute digital and print photographs. Also assisted on photoshoots and in the cataloging of an extensive collection of university photographs.

Burke Museum of Natural History

June 2008 - August 2008 Research Assistant - Working in the Ornithology Lab on a georeferencing mapping project for the labs extensive specimen collection.

Davis Construction Corporation

November 2006 - February 2008 Construction Management Intern - Part of the residential division working on projects in Washington, D.C. and Maryland. Performed project management services including tracking change orders, correspondence with subcontractors and quality control in the field. Required a knowledge of various software tools and approaches to construction management.

TOM COLE 3 1 3 8 Wetmore Ave. S Seattle, WA 98144 t c o l e @ u w . e d u 2 4 0 . 9 9 4 . 1 4 2 4

Tom Cole | Design Portfolio  

A selection of architectural design work from the graduate program at the University of Washington.