Site Visit

During Week One, the class went on a site visit to Central District.


After the site visit they visit the The Randolph Carter Family and Learning Center for a building orientation and attended a panel discussion with the project client and stakeholders.

Panel Discussion at the Randolph Carter Family and Learning Center

Client and Stakeholders Meeting Notes – 6 January 2017

Client Group

Evelyn Allen: Director of Randolph Carter Family CentreJob: Works at Catholic Community Services provided services for Black community. Builds programs to prevent displacement of Blacks.

  • Background: Lived in CD since the age of 13. Came because CD was a vibrant black neighborhood. 95% Black at the time. Saw change in CD since working downtown.
  • Concerns: Proliferation of keep out signs in construction sites. Gentrification and White community coming over.
  • Vision: Express Black culture and arts. Black Wall Street. More Commercial spaces and affordable Housing. Connect neighboring buildings
  • Comments: Monica’s Village was built for families at risk of homelessness. 95% black.

Rob Van Tassell: Vice president of Catholic Housing Services, Housing and Community Development

  • Vision: Fit in culture of community. Reflect current built environment. Relatable to people and elements. Public interface for food, art, and music. Interaction with neighbors. Working with people at risk. Social outreach. Signage with intent of community.
  • Comments:
    • Workspaces: Collaboration encouraged. Wiring and HVAC are vital.
    • Housing: Current zoning allows for 40’ height, but under HALA can increase to 55’ with the addition of affordable housing. Consider other housing types, nearby institutions, mixed income housing. Condos and rental. Access to transit. Connectivity to neighboring buildings. Incorporate motifs (refer to Chinatown)

 Shawn Abdul: Operations Manager of Housing and Community Development

  • Job: Developer of YK Building to tackle gentrification
  • Concerns: Red apple is slated to be demolished and replaced with Whole ‘Paycheck’ Foods. Risk of affordable food desert.
  • Vision: More young black professionals come into the area. Community gathering spaces. Food options.


Dr. Sheila Edwards Lange: President of Seattle Central College (includes Seattle Vocational Institute and the Wood Technology Center)

  • Background: When she moved to Seattle her community at Zion Church encouraged her to stay. Obtained Bachelor, Master, and PhD at University of Washington.
  • Job: Seattle Vocational Institute: Historically part of Edison Technical. Now a branch of SCC. SVI had a renovation 15 years ago. Mainly serves African Americans (53%). Job training. Applied technology institute.
  • Concerns: SVI saw decrease in enrolment because programs were mediocre. Deferred maintenance in building. No wireless until recent years. Environment discourages education.
  • Vision: Preserve cultural legacy of SCC, SVI, and African American Institutions. Serve the changing community. Physical connection through new buildings. Allied Health and Construction training as potential institutions.
  • Comments:
    • Job projection for SVI: Health care, technology, construction. Improved programs.
    • Corporations need more social diversity. Future clients need training.

Andrea Caupain: CEO of Centerstone (53-year-old institution, derived from War on Poverty)

  • Job: Centerstone was established to help people under poverty and improve economically. Engagement arm to advocate for themselves.
  • Background: Grew up in Kent and currently lives there. ‘Central’ District is an African American enclave today. In the past she visited CD because it was the place fellow Blacks hang out.
  • Concern: CCS is 107 years old and has deferred maintenance.
  • Vision: Facilitate design that inherits Black heritage in CD. Fishbowl experience desired. Less solid walls. Modernize building. Co-working spaces attractive to Black folks. Deep listening to our community.

Dennis Comer: Central Area Collaborative

  • Background: Retired Military Officer from Texas. Historically Black College University. Served Retired Military Officer from Texas. Historically Black College University in Fort Louis, WA. Embraced Seattle’s black culture of Hollywood Underground and Sir Mix-a-Lot.
  • Concerns: 30 years later, not the Seattle I remembered. Black culture dwindling. CD has last of hope to keep Black culture alive.
  • Vision: Inclusion of everyone. “I don’t care if you have ‘rich people food’ you need stuff representing the heritage culture.” Black entertainers to call home.
  • Comments:
    • More than design. I represent land use community. You need input from local community. Brings everybody together. We can control our development.
    • “We came here because this is my home.” His wife works at a mom-and-pop bakery in CD. Clients are mainly wealthy yuppies. Hopes that everybody can be part of the community.

David Harris: City of Seattle Economic Development. Startup Advocate (TechHire, Hack the CD)

  • Background: Former employee at Microsoft. Found a community through a Black fraternity. Currently lives in a condo at 23rd and Jackson. Gave up car for car-share. Started an Air BnB.
  • Concern: huge decline of community.
  • Vision: Wants to see something like Piccadilly Circus in CD. CD a hub for people, activity. 24/7 intersection. Educated Institutes with Black Names. Connection. Walkability. Livability. Dedicated lanes for Autonomous Connected Electric Shared mobility. CD as outpost for African Americans working in anchor companies (e.g. Amazon, Microsoft) to connect with Seattle tech trends and African American heritage.
  • Comments:
    • There are emerging tech trends endemic to Seattle.
    • Mobile living a possible trend 5 to 10 years from now.
    • TechHire: Get underemployed people into tech jobs. 2000 people by 2020. Different types of industry still need tech crew. Accessible options include scholarships and free tuition.
    • Hack the CD (2014): Entrepreneurship in Black community. 150 people. Created 10 businesses in 1 weekend.
    • Use Fire station in CD to share ideas.

Summary of Panel Q+A:

  • Comfort: Art and furniture in reception area. Comfortable to children. Well used courtyard. Combine interchange between indoor and outdoor. (Sheila) Accessible to all (ability, background, accommodate new immigrants) Locals aging and prospering in place. (Rob, Donald)
  • Architecture tasteful to African American culture: Traditional houses and patterns found in books. (Dennis) Incorporate the porch as social space. (Shawn) Look to nearby Latino district for cultural integration. (Rob) Relevant to younger generations. Sustainability. Smithsonian Museum by Adjaye, Bullitt Center and Intellectual House are precedents mentioned.
  • Food services: Commercial kitchens. Centralized kitchen. Flexible food establishments. (Dennis, Rob, Donald)
  • Improvements to CCS: Less walls. (Evelyn) More childcare and family services to accommodate about 100 people. (Shawn)
  • Safety: Understand hotspots, while maintaining the notion of less walls. (Evelyn) Connection to community and fire station. (Sheila)
  • Other considerations:
    • Welcome back people who grew up in CD. Establish reconnection. (Rob)
    • CD as Black culture destination that is affordable to those who wish to come. (Dennis)
    • Use of color instead of whites and creams. (Sheila)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s