Celebrating 150 years, the AIA is the premier professional organization for America's architects. The AIA150 program, "Celebrating the Past, Designing the Future." honors architects for their dedication and commitment to excellence in design and livability in our nation's buildings and communities. The cornerstone program of AIA150, the Blueprint for America, serves as a nationwide platform to unite architects and citizens to collaborate on their communities' design priorities. AIA Southwest Washington coordinated the following projects while participating in the AIA 150 celebration and advocating for more livable communities.


Tacoma: Sounder Commuter Train Extension to Lakewood

The Sounder Commuter Train operates between Tacoma and Seattle. It is extending to the South, through the CBD of Tacoma. The route is complicated by hilly topography, existing businesses, high traffic city arterials and goes through the area of expansion of the very active Tacoma CBD.

AIA was invited by Community groups to study the Transit Authorities proposal. AIASWW has been presenters at many meetings which included young architects as well as firm principals.

  • The lead-off project is analyzing the impact of the Sounder Commuter train extension from the Freight House Square in the Tacoma Dome area to Lakewood
    • The impact of the neighborhood on the south end of the revitalizing Downtown is tremendous.
      • Business and properties are being isolated:
      • The 'Gateway' to Downtown might be compromised etc.
  • AIASWW was invited by community groups to study alternatives.
  • There have been public sessions gathering information and concerns upon which to design.
  • AIASWW formed five separate design groups, working independently.
    • AIA presented five alternatives at public meetings.
  • Additional meetings and presentation have been made to:
    • The Tacoma City Council (4)
    • The Tacoma Pierce County Chamber of Commerce
    • Various affected businesses
    • Study sessions with the Sound Transit Authority
  • The Architects are involved!
    • A civic leader, after one of the sessions thanked AIA.
      • He sincerely stated that "These sessions would not have occurred without the AIA's involvement".
      • There have been a number of articles in the local press noting the architects' role
  • A general template of action is being documented based upon these project experiences.
    • This template will aid in future initiatives.

    Olympia: Future of Fourth Avenue

    "The Future of Fourth" is a study of a five block underdeveloped area of Olympia. AIASWW has had a public fact finding session with the public, businesses, city officials. A photographic inventory of the area has been completed. Design sessions have produced many ideas ready for presentation.

    • The Architects in Olympia will be redesigning a five block area at the east end of 4th Avenue in DOWNTOWN OLYMPIA.
      • The purpose: to help revitalize this section and encourage more development
      • They have had field trips and made a photographic inventory
      • City officials and community leaders are involved
      • The first public meeting will be held on January 27th
        • Meeting with property owners, businesses, public, government etc.
        • Goal: to document the concerns, ideas, suggestions of these parties
        • These will be organized into design criteria
          • AIA will then do graphic studies
          • AIA will later present these at public forums


    AIA SWW 150 Major Participants

    AIA 150 Champion(s) and other key organizer(s)

    • James Martin Harris, FAIA; AIA 150 Champion; Chair of AIA SWW AIA 150 Steering committee
    • James R. Merritt, FAIA, Tacoma Co-Chair
    • Forrest German AIA, Tacoma Co-Chair
    • John Lindstrom, AIA, Olympia Co-Chair
    • Janet Knoblach, AIA, Olympia Co-Chair

    AIA 150 Public Sponsors and Partners

    • Hillside Development Council of Tacoma
    • Dome District Business Group of Tacoma
    • City of Tacoma & Olympia





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