Friday, February 24, 2012

The Art of Creating an Art Museum - Bainbridge Island Review

Bainbridge Island Review Staff writer
February 24, 2012 · 2:23 PM

As winter comes to an end, the island’s bare branches might appear lifeless – but if you look closer, you’ll find them covered in buds just waiting to burst.

You might make that same conclusion looking at the site of the future Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.

Its gray foundation mirrors winter’s bleak skies, but like the tulips and daffodils, a lot is going on below the surface. Literally.

The museum, aiming for environmentally friendly LEED gold designation, took a detour to incorporate geothermal heating, digging 14 underground wells that will draw heat from the earth. That’s in addition to plans for solar panels on the roof; use of recycled materials, including insulation made from old denim; a vegetated roof garden and a “living” wall. The building, designed by Bainbridge resident and architect Matthew Coates with input from the community, would be the first museum in Washington state and one of only a handful in the country to earn that designation.

“It’s not easy for museums to qualify because they have a high energy need – to keep the temperature and humidity constant for the art, along with high lighting requirements,” Coates said.

And while Coates contemplates possible gold status,

BIMA’s Executive Director Greg Robinson is pretty excited about the basement.

“It’s not a space that a lot of people think about,” he said. “It’s not the sexiest part.”

It’s important to Robinson because it contains the museum’s archival space for art storage, a loading dock, offices and the mechanical rooms. In other words, it’s the guts of the museum, and essential to behind-the-scenes magic. Attention was paid to meet the highest museum standards to be eligible to host exhibits from other museums in the region.

Above ground, Phase I includes the 95-seat auditorium which has already been used for plays, documentary screenings and civic events, and classroom space which hosted numerous KiDiMu summer camps last year, as well as an ongoing Life Drawing class on Tuesdays.

Learning curve
The building’s curve will lead visitors toward the entrance, and the generous use of glass allows people to see into the museum.

“We wanted it to be accessible, approachable, inviting,” Coates said. “Not just a box with cool stuff in it.”

“Sherry Grover taught me about public spaces,” said Cynthia Sears, the museum’s initiator. “People want to know they’re not going to be trapped; they want to know how something works, that they can move at their own pace and won’t get stuck with someone lecturing them.”

Once inside the lobby and reception area, an adjacent orientation gallery will enable docents and teachers to orient small groups and relay “museum manners” before setting off on an aesthetic adventure. That area spills out into the permanent collection gallery and an adjacent children’s and youth-focused space that might house art by kids – or art that is of interest to them.

Around the corner is a small gift shop that will carry touchstones, not trinkets.

From there, the Grand Hall leads to a dramatic staircase that ascends along the building’s curved wall of windows.

The top floor will house revolving exhibits in the main gallery and in the intimate spaces of the Sherry Grover Room and the Beacon Gallery, named for its visibility to those traveling by ferry.

A 300-square-foot roof terrace and garden overlooking the courtyard has been named in honor of Island Treasures  and early museum supporters George Little and David Lewis.

An elevator (or stairs) will take visitors to the small cafe or back to the lobby.

The overall size is ample but not intimidating and natural light, greenery and natural materials will add warmth to the space as well.

A beacon
From the beginning, the project has been charmed, not only in landing such a fortuitous location, but in drawing a team of talented, gracious people.

Board member and engineer Ralph Spillenger, formerly in charge of NASA facilities, has been instrumental in shaving $1 million off building costs, said Sears. “He checks everything. And he’s one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever met.”

Coates is so local people forget he’s a nationally acclaimed architect – whose specialty happens to be environmentally progressive buildings.

“It’s been a huge honor to be involved in this project,” he said (repeatedly).

Even one of the building’s design elements metaphorically reflects the magnetic draw the project has had, and will have into the future. When lit, a two-story glass structure facing the corner will act as a beacon, visible from the water and to those pulling in from the ferry.

To learn more, or to get involved, visit
Contact Bainbridge Island Review Staff writer Connie Mears at or 206-842-6613.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Morales Farm House Slideshow

Thank you to all those you volunteered their time and donated materials for the sustainable restoration of Bainbridge Island's Morales Farm House!

Here are some fun photos from this extreme makeover.

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Friday, February 3, 2012

"The Lorax" Trees for Global Benefits Fundraiser - March 3rd!


The Lorax is coming to
Bainbridge Island!

We hope you will join us for a private showing of Dr Seuss'
"The Lorax" on opening weekend to raise funds to support EcoTrust - Uganda's Trees for Global Benefits initiative.

Your ticket will grant you access to our pre-movie reception where we will have refreshments and kid-friendly activities, followed by a private showing of Dr Seuss' "The Lorax" movie.  All proceeds from ticket sales will support EcoTrust - Uganda's TREES FOR GLOBAL BENEFITS initiative, assisting small farmers in Uganda to plant and maintain trees, a program that helps to offset global carbon impacts while improving economic opportunity.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

DJC: Kitsap County gets its first LEED gold office

Daily Journal of Commerce
Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A development firm named Asani teamed up with PHC Construction and Coates Design Architects to turn a neighborhood eyesore into an energy efficient building.

All three companies now have their offices in the Granero Office Building on Bainbridge Island.  Asani said the project recently became Kitsap County’s first LEED gold building.

The structure was a municipal shed built in the 1950s and used for truck maintenance.  Today, it is an energy efficient, light-filled office space.  The project was completed in 2009.

Marty Sievertson, owner and president of PHC Construction, said he was delighted to participate in the project and is happy with the results.  “Our people really enjoy the open airy feel and collaborative work environment that was created here.”

More than half of the original structure was reused.  The new building has exterior shades to reduce light pollution, extremely low-water fixtures including waterless urinals and dual-flush toilets.  The landscaping requires no irrigation.  Interior lights are on timers or occupancy sensors and 75 percent of the building is daylit.  FSC wood was used for the majority of the framing and all composite wood is free or urea formaldehyde.

The building is near the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal at 710 John Nelson Lane N.E.  Nearby bus routes offer alternative commuting options.