Monday, December 23, 2013

Grow Community enters Phase II of design with community center and childcare facility – BI Review

by CECILIA GARZA,  Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer 
Dec 19, 2013 at 10:00AM updated at 1:42PM

Bainbridge Island’s Design Review Board received a preview into Phase II of Grow Community this month, which will include a community center and potentially an early childcare school.

In a three-hour meeting, Grow Community planners presented additions to the development that span from townhouses to an alder forest to a multi-faceted community center.

“I think it went well,” said Jean Stolzman of Cutler Anderson Architects.

“I think it’s a great Design Review Board, and we’re always welcoming their comments. All in all, it was very helpful,” Stolzman said.

The second phase of design will shift focus to the communal living aspect of the development.
On the outer perimeters, extending from Wyatt Way to Shepard Drive, up to seven multi-family buildings will be constructed to accommodate apartment flats and townhouses.

In the center, connecting the homes, will be two sizable courtyards.

A miniature alder forest will spread throughout the northern quad with several footpaths to give visitors and residents access from their homes to the community center.

“The community center is right at the heart of that community,” Stolzman said. “People can meet there for yoga, meetings, cooking, et cetera. The idea is that everyone is taking a part in this.”

Dividing the northern quad in half will be a footpath that extends from Wyatt Way to the community center.

Those walking on this path will pass through the cluster of alders straight onto the rooftop patio of the center.

The center will be constructed partially inset to the ground, so that the rooftop is level with the northern quad.

On the rooftop terrace, residents and visitors will have access to an outdoor fireplace and picnic area.

A 2,500-square-foot, one-story building, the community center itself will contain a large gathering area with a double-sided fireplace, kitchen area, a meeting room and a communal workshop space.
The meeting room, Stolzman explained, can be reserved for pretty much anything, from yoga to group meetings.

Additionally, since most of the residents will not have a private garage, the workshop area will function as a multi-use space for handy work.

As residents exit the building, the center will open up to the southend of the development where on either side of the building will also be a terraced community garden.

“Part of the idea is that you can harvest your vegetables and come down and make your own meal in the kitchen,” Stolzman explained.

The center’s kitchen area, Stolzman added, has been designed with the intention that residents and visitors can cook together, share recipes and eat together in the gathering area.

In addition to the center, at the foot of the south quad will be a bonus building.

“It can either become a residential building or an early childhood center,” said Marja Preston of the Asani Development Team.

“We’ve been thinking about a couple uses that could become an amenity for the residents there.”
An early childhood center would further foster the intergenerational quality of living at Grow Community, Preston said.

Through volunteering, it would also give residents and citizens an opportunity to be involved in the community.

The idea began when the Madrona School was considering moving their program to a downtown area and potentially into the Grow Community building.

Despite the school deciding to stay in its current location, the idea stuck.

“We think it would be a really interesting amenity, because there are so many families moving into the Grow Community,” she said.

Click here to read the article.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Is This The Most Sustainable Neighborhood In The U.S.? - | November 13, 2013 | Adele Peters


 A new neighborhood on Bainbridge Island, Washington, has all the aspects of a resilient community--like net zero homes, community gardens, and car sharing--built in from the beginning.

A new urban neighborhood on Bainbridge Island, Washington, is arguably the most resilient--and healthiest--in the entire United States. Grow Community is not the first place to have net zero energy homes, community gardens, carsharing, or any of its other features, but it’s the first community to have all of those features, by design, from its inception. Each home in the new development, from apartments to single-family homes, can run entirely on solar power. The ultra-efficient buildings are insulated to save energy, and include heat pumps and heat recovery ventilators. Wood siding comes from local, sustainably managed forests. But green buildings are only a small part of the community’s design.

“The average footprint for food and transportation is three times the footprint of a home,” says Jonathan Davis, the architect who led the project. Both were considered as integral parts of the development. The location was carefully chosen to be a short walk or bike ride from the ferry to Seattle or nearby shops. Residents will have access to community bikes and a shared fleet of cars--the first car being a Nissan Leaf that plugs into its own dedicated solar panel. The homes are bordered by community vegetable gardens and fruit trees, and residents will also have the chance to participate in a working farm within walking distance. The design also aims to help neighbors actually meet each other. The site is divided up into “microhoods” that are grouped around a common yard, and each of the grouping is connected by a series of pathways. No one can drive home; the parking lot is deliberately remote so that people have to walk home, and have the chance to run into each other. Each home has a front porch, and the common yards have community gardens and other shared spaces for people to interact.
Right now, the development is partially completed--22 out of 24 single-family homes are underway or finished, and construction will begin shortly on two small apartment buildings. Eight homes are occupied. The new residents include the architect and his own family. “Someone recently said it must be like my own personal Sim City, and it is,” Davis says, as he watches his creation unfold. The development is the first in the U.S. to meet the stringent requirements of the One Planet Living program. “It’s a really big-picture look at sustainability,” Davis says. “In a way, Grow Community provides an easy basis for everyone living there to reduce their environmental footprint.”

Monday, October 28, 2013

Grow Community October 2013 Newsletter

First Neighborhood Sold Out!
Residents Moving In.

Ok, its official.  We are excited to announce the single family homes in the first 3-acre neighborhood at Grow Community are sold out.  Eight families have now moved into their homes and more are soon to come.  By February the neighborhood should be full and construction almost complete.

Rentals Still Available.
We will be starting construction very soon on the Cooper rentals.  While many rentals have already been reserved, some are still available. Click here for more information or contact our sales office
if you are interested in renting in our Zero Carbon community.  Click here to download our flier.

What's Coming Next?
We are finalizing the schematic design for the next two neighborhoods in Grow Community.  This next stage of the project will complete the One Planet project, with a trail system leading directly into town and a beautiful community building for all residents to use.  The redesign has been driven by a focus on intergenerational community and designing for accessibility.  Stay tuned for a release of the design concept next month - we think it's pretty awesome!

Grow Solar
This month A&R Solar is installing solar arrays on more homes at Grow.  Our community is on its way to being the largest solar neighborhood in Washington State, proving that solar really does work in our cloudy state!
As a One Planet Community, Grow is intended to achieve Net Zero Carbon from buildings by 2020.  We have been monitoring one of the occupied homes in the community since January of this year and it looks like the numbers are coming out positive - the solar is providing more than enough energy to power the house over the year!  This not only reduces the owners' carbon footprint, it also saves them a whole lot in power bills. 

Here are a few reasons why you might also want to consider solar for your home:
  • Receive Washington State renewable energy incentives
  • Get a 30% federal tax credit
  • Reduce your electric bills forever
  • Support your local economy 
  • Increase your homes resale value
  • Reduce your carbon footprint

Monday, September 30, 2013

Incentives offered to build green, affordable housing – KITSAP BIZ JOURNAL

September 6, 2013 @ 11:11am | Tim Kelly ~ KPBJ Editor The aim of the Housing Design

The aim of the Housing Design Demonstration Project on Bainbridge Island was to create incentives for developers to build subdivisions that offer green and/or affordable housing. Four projects taking advantage of incentives such as “bonus density” offered by the ordinance are in different stages of development. Ferncliff Village has completed 24 homes that are now mostly occupied, and the first homeowners are moving into the GROW Community, which will be the largest of the four, as it works toward completion of its first phase.

Ferncliff VillageMeanwhile, the HDDP, which was adopted in 2009, is set to expire at the end of this year, but a committee has been working on revisions that will be presented soon to the City Council, and a reworked ordinance could be extended for a few more years or made permanent.
“The HDDP’s intent is to allow for clustered housing and preserving open spaces,” said Mark Blatter, executive director of the nonprofit Housing Resources Board, which developed Ferncliff Village.

Community land trust
Ferncliff’s first phase showcases that concept, with the two dozen cottage-style houses on small lots, with a community garden and an open grassy area in the center of the development. Besides being shared recreational space for residents, the grassy area also handles stormwater runoff.

The six-acre site — off Ferncliff Avenue half a mile north of Winslow Way — was donated to the Housing Resources Board by former City Council member Lois Curtis. The HRB developed Ferncliff as a community land trust, which means the nonprofit builds and sells the houses but retains ownership of the land, with homeowners paying a low-cost, long-term land lease.

“That’s part of the way we make it work as affordable housing,” Blatter said.

The two — and three-bedroom houses range from 846 to 1,138 square feet, and are priced from $195,000 to $220,000. The Ferncliff Village website says the home prices are more than $50,000 below market value. Blatter said qualified buyers are those with 80 percent to 120 percent of the area median income in King County, and additional subsidies are available for potential Ferncliff homebuyers with incomes below that range.

It’s the only one of the four HDDP developments that meets the affordability goal of the ordinance.
Charlie Wenzlau, a local architect who is Housing Resources Board chairman and also helped develop the HDDP for the city, explained that the ordinance has development standards structured in tiers on either a green building track or an affordability track, though they’re not mutually exclusive.

“When you go with the affordability track, the green building requirements are still there but not as onerous,” he said.

So even though Ferncliff put more emphasis on providing affordable homes, Blatter said the houses also include various energy-efficiency elements such as ductless heat pumps, Energy Star appliances and triple-glazed windows.

“We think these houses are going to live comfortably and large, even though they are fairly compact,” Blatter said.

Changes at GROW
The GROW Community, located at the corner of Wyatt Way and Grow Avenue just a couple blocks from downtown Winslow, is on the green track and has incorporated more extensive sustainability measures, such as rooftop solar panels and a charging station for a shared electric vehicle available for residents to use.

Jonathan Davis, the architect who designed the first phase being built on three acres of the eight-acre GROW site, worked with developer Asani to create a project meeting One Planet Community standards of sustainability. BioRegional, the global sustainability organization that founded the One Planet Living program, announced GROW’s endorsement at last year’s Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

The community has a charging station for an electric vehicle that’s available for residents to use.The community has a charging station for an electric vehicle that’s available for residents to use.“We had the land and knew we had to do something interesting with it,” Asani president Marja Preston said. “We came up with this concept for a One Planet intentional community. The HDDP ordinance the city had fit very well with that.”

The GROW Community’s first phase will have 44 housing units, with 24 free-standing single-family homes or duplexes that are currently under construction, plus two buildings each with 10 apartments to rent. A park/play area space will be at the high side of the site near the Wyatt Avenue corner.

Only three houses had residents in August, but Preston said builder PHC Construction is finishing about three each month, and should have all of them done early next year. She and Davis are both buying houses in Phase I.

“Our intent is to create a tight-knit community,” the British-born Davis said. “We created a place for that to happen. We have the potential for community here.”

As for the HDDP, he said it’s “a brilliant ordinance” and “what it allowed us to do that’s most beneficial, is create fee-simple lots for the homes,” so they could be sold as single-family houses instead of condominiums, for which it’s harder to get construction financing.

“Our density is no higher than what could have been built here” as apartments and condos, Davis noted.

While he’ll soon be living in the community, Davis won’t be as involved as the second phase at GROW starts to take shape next year. Asani decided to rework the types of housing and the site plan for the other five acres, and held a community meeting this summer to explain the changes.

Instead of homes built mostly on small but separate lots, many of the new units will be in rows of townhouses on the sides of a large central plaza where a community center will be built.

Davis isn’t critical of the developer’s changes, although he said “I think Phase 1 and Phase 2 will be two very different communities, with a different feel to them, and I think different population types.”
He also said that “supposedly what they’re proposing will be more profitable.”

Preston said the rowhouse-style arrangement was adopted in Phase 2 “so we could make better use of the space, to have more usable public open space.”

There will also be more garden space, she said, and a wider variety of unit types and sizes, including single-level homes that will meet the needs of people interested in an aging-in-place design.

There will be 87 units in Phase 2, the same as in the original design, and the redesigned project will still meet HDDP criteria.

To draw up the new Phase 2 plan, GROW worked with Jim Cutler, a renowned architect whose office is on Eagle Harbor but whose work for much of his career has been on projects in distant places.

“For a number of years I eschewed doing any work on Bainbridge Island,” Cutler said. “The only thing we’ve done was Grace Church.”

The builder he worked with a decade ago on the distinctive church with its high walls of windows was Marty Sievertson, president of Asani partner PHC Construction that’s building the homes at GROW. He suggested bringing in Cutler, who taught a University of Oregon 2012 summer program in Portland focused on environmental stewardship through design.

Cutler said the challenge at GROW was “I had to generate a site plan that fulfills all the requirements for family, and for community.”

With a five-acre site to work with, he wondered, “would it be possible to leave three acres open and still fit 87 houses?”

Click here to read more -->

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Waypoint Park in Pictures

Nearly two years of effort on the part of over 50 volunteers has culminated with the opening of the award winning Waypoint park. Located at the corner of Winslow Way and Highway 305, on property co-owned by the City of Bainbridge Island and Kitsap Transit, The Waypoint is the first impression for Island visitors and a welcome home to returning residents. This project reflects the elemental character, history and sense of place that is Bainbridge Island. Along with other local volunteers, PHC Construction contributed its services and materials to help create this new park for the community.

Here are some great new photos of The Waypoint Park taken by local photographer David Cohen.

Building a Healthy Community from the Inside Out

Premier Builder Magazine
July/August 2013

Two years ago, the Asani/PHC team of architects, builders and developers set out to design a Net Zero energy home using local and sustainable materials, all with a construction budget under $150/square foot.  These homes are part of the new One Planet Community (one of 8 in the world) on Bainbridge Island – a Zero Carbon neighborhood of homes that is affordable to young families and baby boomers alike.

DSC_1656The new homes at Grow Community are not just net zero energy homes, they are part of a neighborhood where residents will be able to reduce their overall carbon footprint – that is, the impact from buildings, transportation, and food to name a few.  The homes are part of a One Planet Neighborhood, homes where it is easy, fun and affordable to live a lifestyle where our impact on the planet is a little lighter.

One Planet is a framework to guide design of Zero Carbon neighborhoods.  The program focuses not just on environmental impacts, but also on economic and social sustainability, creating communities where neighbors interact and where ecological footprints are reduced.  Grow Community has used the ten sustainability principles of the One Planet framework to create a neighborhood that is unlike any other in the United States.

The homes are beautifully designed, light filled spaces located in small clusters with the community, all surrounding vegetable gardens.  The neighborhood is made up of equal numbers of single-family homes for sale and multifamily homes for rent, providing different financial options for residents to live in the community.  The floorplans are designed for families, for couples, for aging in place, a mix that has resulted in a truly intergenerational community.

When we first started to design the Grow home, we weren’t sure if we could meet the net zero challenge with the given budge, but with a little determination and a dedicated team, we’ve shown it can be done.  Each home and multifamily building is designed as a Net Zero home – the solar panels on the roof are enough to provide all the power needed throughout the year.  The cost of construction of each of the homes is both reasonable and replicable.
aria kitchen
The One Planet framework was used to balance design and material choices against each of the sustainability principles.  We designed an energy efficient building envelope, using local and sustainable materials wherever possible, and choose finishes that would ultimately create a comfortable and healthy home.

Health and Happiness is the foremost One Planet principle driving design decisions both for the individual homes and for the community as a whole.  Each house is built using the highest quality materials to create a healthy indoor living environment, including:
  • Marvin Integrity word/fiberglass windows avoid the use of PVC in the homes;
  • Cork or local sustainably harvested wood floors with non-toxic finishes create local and healthy flooring options;
  • Silent and highly efficient mini-split heat pumps to maintain comfortable temperatures;
  • Cabinets with no added formaldehyde, recycled content countertops and induction cooktops for sustainable and well-appointed kitchens; and
  • Optional whole house water filters.
healthThe community itself is designed around numerous vegetable gardens, with native plants and vegetation throughout to create natural and inviting places for children and adults to enjoy.  The neighborhood is located just a short walk from urban amenities, enabling residents to walk or ride, incorporating exercise into their daily lives.  A community center will provide a space for yoga classes, cooking demonstrations, and community events.

It is our home that this One Planet neighborhood will change the way we approach urban design.  We created the project to demonstrate how developers might design projects that have a net positive impact, not only on the environment, but on the way people live, creating healthier and more satisfying lifestyles in urban areas.  The Grow Community homes are not just good for the environment, they are a place for people to live healthy and affordable lives, to connect with their neighbors, their community and nature.

Grow Community changes design of Phase Two of development project - BAINBRIDGE ISLAND REVIEW

Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer
August 26, 2013 · 2:21 PM
Grow Community architects are setting up a new palette for Phase Two of development.
In a meeting Monday with the Bainbridge Island Design Review Board, architect Jim Cutler described a shift from single-family homes to a model that was more all-of-the-above.

Phase One of construction is already wrapping up, with 20 homes sold and two apartment buildings planned for construction on Wyatt Way.

Previously, the plans for the second phase of construction described a connected block of more single-family residences.

After an owner’s analysis of the plan, however, Cutler and his team saw that the project presented too much financial risk.

“Primarily because they were in very large blocks and very similar pieces,” Cutler said.
“They didn’t have enough diversity in terms of being able to market certain diversity and furthermore, it would not be complete until they completed the whole project.”

With the makeover to the Phase Two plans, Cutler has incorporated some major changes for the project.

They have transformed what was a V-shape arrangement of the units to clusters of dwellings with substantial green common space between the structures. This has given Cutler’s team the ability to incorporate a mix of homes in the community. They will now offer apartments, condominiums and townhomes in addition to single-family homes.

The new mixture of homes at Grow will also come with sheltered garages.

With the ground fall between each side of Wyatt Way, Cutler’s design has managed to keep the structures level enough to allow for garages underneath the homes. This will create a two-story out of a one-story and a three-story home out of two story home.

The underground parking will make way for more green space for all the amenities the community envisions, including numerous community and personal gardens, a community center and plenty of play area for children.

Contact Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer Cecilia Garza at or 206-842-6613.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Grow Community modifies development plans - BAINBRIDGE ISLAND REVIEW

Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer
August 3, 2013 · Updated 10:41 AM
Joie Olson and Carrie Zech with Asani Development greet islanders during a public meeting to discuss changes to Phase II of the Grow Community on Monday, July 29. - Richard D. Oxley / Bainbridge Island Review
    Over the past year, the island has watched the green living-oriented Grow Community sprout up on its small corner in Winslow.

    With Phase II of the development on the horizon, Grow officials are looking to take the neighborhood in a whole new direction than previously expected.

    “Going forward we know we can’t build the same kinds of homes that we built in Phase I,” Marja Preston with Asani Development told a crowd gathered at the Bainbridge Performing Arts Center Monday evening.

    “Our goal for this project is to create a model for intergenerational living,” she said.

    Island architect Jim Cutler explained the significant changes to the project; mainly, that while Grow will continue to be Earth- and community friendly, it will come in a much tighter package.

    “All the things that were endemic in the first phase will be in the second phase, but with more density,” Cutler said.

    The crowd listened intently to Cutler as he explained how he designed 87 dwellings to fit on five acres.

    “I’m going to show you a really dense project,” Cutler told the crowd as he stood in front of a site plan for Phase II.

    Project officials presented their latest vision of the neighborhood this week at a meeting required under the city’s permitting process because the project has changed since it was originally proposed. The changes drew a crowd of more than 70 islanders to the lobby of the Bainbridge Performing Arts Center.

    It was as much of an informative gathering as it was a sales pitch to the community.

    “This project takes this to a whole new level,” said City planner Heather Beckman.

    “Typically we have these meetings at city hall and there are no refreshments, and there isn’t this much of a turnout,” she said.

    Islanders were welcomed to the event with hors d’oeuvre and lemonade before hearing Cutler’s presentation.

    Cutler, of Bainbridge-based Cutler Anderson Architects, walked through a series of slides showcasing the new vision for the development that attaches many of the dwellings, once scattered across the property.

    “The old plan, it was like someone took dice and threw them on the ground,” Cutler said. “We’ve gone to attached dwellings that maximize green area. We’ve ended up with, out of five acres, (roughly) three acres that are green space.”

    Cutler said he designed the community to be multigenerational, and geared toward community interaction, without sacrificing privacy.

    Phase II of the Grow Community will include two apartment buildings off Wyatt Way, two rows of attached townhouses, and single-family buildings.
    Between the structures will be two courtyards and a 2,500-square-foot community center.

    The community center will house a multipurpose room, meeting room, kitchen and a fireplace on both the inside and outside.

    Bordering the property to the south near Shepard Drive will be a 5,000-square-foot commercial building.

    Cutler could not comment on what the commercial structure will ultimately be used for, but officials hope that a small school or child-oriented organization will set up shop there.

    Phase II will continue to incorporate the aspects seen in Phase I, such as solar panels on the roofs, the ability to capture rainwater, and shared electric cars and bicycles.

    Residents’ cars, however, will play a larger role in Phase II than in Phase I.

    Parking has been planned for the development that will border the site, though 43 homes will have private garages. Single-family residences will have two-car garages.

    Cutler explained his vision for cars in the Grow Community.

    “You might notice we are not showing a lot of parking,” he said. “If we build slightly deeper foundations we can build parking underneath (the buildings), so cars are
    not going to be very visible. We are basically putting all cars underneath.”

    “I don’t think we are promoting car use; we are making sure that cars are not part of your daily life visually,” he added, noting that people need to use a car from time to time, so he designed parking into Grow, with the attitude that the community will be primarily pedestrian oriented.

    “We convince, to some degree, our clients that having a car in your daily experience is not necessarily positive,” Cutler said.

    Gardens will also be a primary focus of the new development.

    “Probably what’s endemic in almost every culture in the world is gardening. And I don’t mean flower beds or vegetable gardens. I mean a space where you can extend your dwelling, and your living, outside in privacy,” Cutler said. “So you can connect with living systems outside in a private way.”
    Apartments will include wall gardens, and many homes will include patio spaces.

    A total of 40 residences in Phase II will be wheelchair accessible, and it will be possible to incorporate an elevator in some of the spaces.

    Officials expect the Grow residences to be a mixture of rentals, condominiums and privately owned lots.

    It is likely that it won’t take long to fill the homes.

    “I have had reservations for a product people haven’t even seen for over a year,” said Joie Olson with Asani.

    “We hope by the end of 2015 to be into the first half of the five acres, and have people moved in,” she said.

    Olson noted that the site will be developed incrementally over time so that the company can make changes in the future if needed.

    Contact Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer Richard D. Oxley at or (206) 842-6613.

    Monday, August 5, 2013

    LETTER TO THE EDITOR - Let’s demand the highest ‘green design’

    July 29, 2013 · 8:56 AM
    Bainbridge Island
    To the editor:

    Bainbridge Island is a leader in sustainability and green design. We have a number of architects, designers and community groups that work to create healthy, vibrant places. It’s brilliant. It’s something we all share and can celebrate.

    For example, take a look at the Grow Community development sprouting up in Winslow: It meets stringent One Planet Living Program standards with highly efficient solar powered homes. The development is within walking distance of shops and transit and offers solar-powered cars for neighbors to share when longer trips are desired.

    The new Bainbridge Island Museum of Art is another great example. While beautiful for many reasons, this new home for regional creative works serves as a small clean energy power plant. It uses both solar panels and a geothermal heat pump to produce its own clean electricity and like Kids Discovery Museum, it has a vegetated roof to minimize runoff. It will likely earn LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

    Another innovative green building is Wilkes Elementary School. Its geothermal technology is exposed in the media center so students can get a visual of the modern engineering hiding in the building walls and floor. Outside you’ll notice much of the pavement is different – it’s pervious. Instead of sealing the earth and carrying the goo that leaks from our cars into the Sound, the rain will slowly percolate through the pavement and process the toxins naturally. This is good news for those of us who like our seafood sans pollution. The architects in this project used The Living Building Challenge to guide their design.

    Click here to read the rest of this letter -->

    Wednesday, July 10, 2013

    Business spotlight: Second location planned for bustling Bainbridge Bakers - KITSAP SUN

    Mike Louden’s Bainbridge Bakers has grown so busy, he’s planning a second location at the Island Gateway development near the new Bainbridge Island Museum of Art. His current bakery is located in Winslow Green.

    The new Bainbridge Bakers will occupy 3,000-square-foot space building under construction in the Island Gateway development.

    Thursday, June 20, 2013

    Bainbridge Island Museum of Art Opening

    Here are some pictures from the opening of the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art on Friday.

    Marty Sievertson and Craden Henderson from PHC Construction

    A new, light-filled art museum for Bainbridge and West Sound - SEATTLE TIMES

    Originally published June 11, 2013 at 8:07 PM | Page modified June 11, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    Five years in the making, the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art — with a focus on regional art, especially work from the western side of Puget Sound — opens June 14, 2013.

    By Michael Upchurch
    Seattle Times arts writer

    How do you build an art museum from scratch?

    Over the past five years, folks on Bainbridge Island have been figuring that out. And the fruit of their efforts, the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA), opens on Friday.

    The museum, just a short stroll from the ferry terminal, is almost the first thing you see as you make your way into Winslow. Resembling the prow of a glass ship, the 20,000-square-foot building dominates the corner where Highway 305 and Winslow Way East intersect.

    BIMA is the brainchild of arts patron Cynthia Sears. After she and her husband moved to Bainbridge in 1989, she began collecting local artists’ work. But it bothered her that there was no public venue providing a full overview of what was happening in the local art scene.

    Sears’ children were grown and she wasn’t working — so she realized, as she explained in a recent phone interview, that she had “the perfect opportunity to do something.”

    By 2008 the museum site had been secured, and in 2009 the museum’s founding board was established. Matthew Coates soon came on board as architect, and the first thing he did was ask Sears about her vision for the museum.

    Her reply made a big impression on him.

    “I envision a library for art,” she said.

    She went on to explain that she saw art as such an important part of the community that she felt people should have free access to it, all the time. Asked what she thought the building should look like, she said she didn’t know, but that she knew what she hoped reviews of the building would be like: “I want people to say: ‘It’s a little gem.’ ”

    It is that. Two floors, each with its own spacious gallery, are open to the public. A curving staircase, open to the light, connects the gallery, creating a grand effect on a compact scale. Inside the “ship’s prow,” an aquatic-themed installation, made from recycled materials by Port Townsend artist Margie McDonald, looms in a trapezoid of glass looking down in the direction of the ferry terminal.

    Greg Robinson has charge of the museum, and his duties as executive director are both curatorial and administrative. He brings a varied background to the job. Local arts-scene followers will know him as the former executive director of the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner, Skagit County. But he got his master’s degree in public administration and spent his early career in hospital planning in New York. He came on board at BIMA in late 2010.

    “The footprint of the building was designed,” he recalls. “The interiors weren’t completely planned, so I worked to help to find some of the programmatic needs inside.”

    It took a $15.6 million capital campaign to get the project off the ground, of which $1 million remains to be raised. Getting people to fund an institution that doesn’t exist yet was, Robinson admits, a little trickier than soliciting funds for something already up and running.

    Robinson is forthright about the museum’s mission: “We will be a collecting museum. ... We have the beginnings of a permanent art collection.” The focus, he adds, will be on artists who are lesser known or who haven’t had a “museum opportunity” yet.

    “What we really want to do is curate here, from the region,” Robinson says, “with an emphasis, early on, on the West Sound.”

    One of the museum’s two large galleries will display works from the permanent collection. The other is reserved for rotating shows that will be locally curated.

    For the museum’s opening, seven exhibits will be on display. They include a selection from the permanent collection, a retrospective of work by Bainbridge artist/children’s book author Barbara Helen Berger, and “First Light: Regional Group Exhibition,” co-curated by Robinson and six guest curators.

    One of Coates’ biggest design challenges was how to allow incoming light without damaging the artwork. Adjustable sun louvers, windows with built-in UV protection, internal mechanical blinds and movable walls will keep out damaging sun rays.

    “At night,” Coates says, “the building’s going to glow like a jewel box, a beacon.”

    Coates and the board went to great lengths to make the museum energy-efficient. Geothermal wells below the building and solar panels on its rooftop are connected to its heating system, reducing electric consumption. The building was designed to meet the standards for LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. If it gets the certification, it will be the first museum in the state to do so.

    In addition to gallery spaces, the building includes an auditorium that seats 99, a classroom, archive/storage space and a small museum store. There’s parking for 180 cars on the site, but much of the foot traffic is expected to come from tourists and Seattleites making a day trip across the Sound.
    Sears’ most earnest hope for the museum is that it will serve as a window into the vibrant local art scene and allow young artists in the region to get a foot in the door: “I would just love people to be able to appreciate the artists and the craft persons who are working around us now and give them attention and support while they’re still alive. And I think this is one way to do it.”

    Michael Upchurch:

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

    Pace of construction and renovation projects picks up - KITSAP BUSINESS JOURNAL

    An artist's rendering of what the completed Bainbridge Island Museum of Art will look like. The museum is scheduled to open in June. An artist's rendering of what the completed Bainbridge Island Museum of Art will look like. The museum is scheduled to open in June.Although the recovery in the commercial real estate sector is slow, the past year has seen increased activity in new construction. There are various projects in the works or on the drawing board around the Greater Kitsap Peninsula, as well as numerous tenant improvement projects, which continue to see strong interest.

    Below is a roundup of some of the commercial construction activity happening around the West Sound:

    Bainbridge Island has been busy with several projects. The Bainbridge Island Museum of the Arts is nearly completed, with a ribbon-cutting scheduled for June 14. The building is slated to become LEED Gold-certified, the first museum in the state to do so. The three-story, 20,000-square foot building includes three galleries and a large archival space and is part of the Island Gateway complex that includes the KidiMu.

    Also part of the complex is a retail/commercial building under construction in the spot where Eagle Harbor Market once stood. The building will have retail on the ground level and commercial/office space on top, with a parking garage underground. The steel structure is complete and the metal studding nearly done, with roofing and mechanical systems going in next. Both this building and the museum are designed by Coates Design architects and built by PHC Construction.

    In the Lynwood neighborhood of the island, the first phase of the Pleasant Beach Village mixed-use project, designed by Wenzlau Architects, has been completed by Fairbank Construction (see related story). The second phase will begin with site grading this summer. The second phase includes 22 courtyard-style apartments and a community pool. A third phase will eventually add as many as 45 single-family homes.

    On the drawing board for the island is a shopping center off High School Road that will be designed in the style of Seattle’s University Village. The eight-acre site will include seven buildings for a total of more than 60,000 square feet and a drug store as the anchor. The project is in the planning stages by Wenzlau, with construction expected next spring.

    Harrison Medical Center is also planning a new project on Bainbridge, a medical building at the corner of Madison and State Route 305 that will include 24-hour urgent care and a primary care clinic, as well as itinerant space for lease by physicians. Harrison was in the process of finalizing the land purchase agreement at the end of May and CEO Scott Bosch said they were confident the agreement would go through. The center, designed by Coates, will include 17,000 square feet on two levels. Tim Ryan Construction is expected to start building in the fall.

    Another project on the drawing board is the renovation of Town & Country Market sometime early next year, but the store will stay open during construction.

    In Kingston, the BJC Group is working on a new home for Puerta Vallarta restaurant at “George’s Corner.” The 6,000-square-foot building is about a month away from completion and will feature unique interior finishes such as metal, concrete countertops and brickwork. The restaurant will be moving into the building from its previous location, which was leased.

    Rice Fergus Miller is working on a new home for the Kingston branch of Kitsap Regional Library. The planning is in the early stages. The library is part of the Village Green project, which is also slated to include a community center and a senior housing complex. The Village Green Foundation is still raising capital funds for the center.

    RFM is also working on the design of the Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort’s expansion, part of a four-phase master plan. The first phase will include the addition of 10,000 square feet of meeting space and another 4,500 square feet of “pre-function” space. Also part of this phase is a new 700-car parking garage, new fine-dining restaurant, remodeling of the Longhouse Buffet, more office space and new walkway/elevator entrance.

    Construction is expected to last 18 months and be completed in December 2014. Future phases will add a 100-room, five-story hotel; remodel and expand the casino; and add more meeting space. The entire master plan is scheduled for completion by December 2017.

    In Poulsbo, the BJC Group is working on another restaurant, King’s Wok. This will be the second location for the restaurant that is currently in Silverdale. The 6,800-square-foot building is going up in the Oldhava area, near WalMart, with construction anticipated to start in July and be completed in seven months.

    Poulsbo’s former DME Auto building, located on Seventh Avenue, will be getting a façade facelift. The vacant building is being redesigned by ADM Architecture to create a multi-tenant layout and help attract new tenants.

    Also in the works is a new Safeway on Lincoln Road off SR?305. Previous buildings on the site, including the former headquarters of Olympic Property Group, have been demolished. The 59,000-square-foot store, which will have a gas station, is expected to open by December.

    In Silverdale, the largest new construction project is nearly completed by Andersen Construction. Harrison Medical Center’s new orthopaedic hospital, adjacent to the Silverdale hospital campus, is scheduled to open in mid-September. Installation of medical equipment will begin in late August. The hospital, designed by Rice Fergus Miller, will have 54,000 square feet of space, four large orthopaedic operating rooms and 16 pre/post-surgery bays on the first floor; 24 single-patient rooms on the second floor; a rooftop rehab trail and various amenities geared specifically for orhtopaedic patients and procedures. The third floor is being built out for a future expansion, which will include 26 patient rooms.

    Another medical project in Silverdale is the expansion of Retina Center NW, designed by Indigo and being built by Tim Ryan Construction. The 3,200-square-foot expansion will be done in June.
    Other tenant improvement projects in Silverdale include an All Star Lanes major facelift (the bowling alley will remain open through construction), which BJC Construction expects to finish in August; and the upcoming renovation of a 4,000-square-foot building that will house a new Cobalt Mortgage branch, an ADM Architecture project currently in permitting stage.

    In Bremerton, the 10,000-square-foot Salvation Army headquarters on Sixth Avenue will be gutted and completely redone, with another 13,000 square feet on two floors added to the ’70s building. Hecker Architects and Fairbank Construction are working to add a hygiene center and other service areas and to upgrade the exterior. Construction is likely to start in the fall and last about a year, with the Salvation Army HQ to be moved temporarily.

    The former Dodge dealership on Auto Center Way has become the headquarters for Skookum Contract Services. Rice Fergus Miller and Tim Ryan Construction are working on a 16,000-square-foot expansion of the office space (into what used to be the old shop). The project is in permitting.

    Downtown Bremerton is adding more apartments. Lorax Partners of Seattle, which developed Bremerton Harborside, is adding four floors on top of the city’s Burwell/Fourth Street parking garage (one side of which has the new SEEfilm Cinema on top). Described as the only vertical urban apartment living and unique for Kitsap County, the building will include 71 units ranging from studios to two bedrooms, expected to be available in 2015.

    Another downtown apartment project, Spyglass Hill, is just beginning the design review and permitting process. It’s planned for the 600 block of Washington Avenue, just south of the Manette Bridge. Sound West Group is the developer and its in-house partner, FPH?Construction, will build the five-story structure that will have 80 apartments with views over the water.

    The Sydney complex of eight apartment buildings is nearing completion in Port Orchard. The 106-unit development built by Rush Cos. of Gig Harbor is behind a small commercial center at the northwest corner of Sidney and Sedgwick roads.The Sydney complex of eight apartment buildings is nearing completion in Port Orchard. The 106-unit development built by Rush Cos. of Gig Harbor is behind a small commercial center at the northwest corner of Sidney and Sedgwick roads.Port Orchard has new apartments under construction. Rush Cos. is nearing the completion on The Sydney, 106 units in eight three-story buildings off Sedgwick Road. The initial phase will be done in June and the rest in August. The garden-style, higher-end apartments will include one — to three-bedroom units.

    Across the street, Rush will be breaking ground in June on The Sinclair, another 126 units that will be similar in style but also include studio apartments.

    The second phase of Kitsap Community Resources’ Port Orchard project is also nearly complete. The first phase was the construction of a new center that opened in September, and the second is the addition of Jackson Village, 10 affordable homes now under construction. Both are Wenzlau/Fairbank projects. The homes are cottage style and will have a common playground area shared with the KCR admin building.

    A couple of upcoming Port Orchard projects include the expansion/tenant improvement of a vacant space in the High Point Shopping Center by the Bethel roundabout, and a major renovation of the Kitsap Regional Library’s Port Orchard branch.

    In Gig Harbor, Ship to Shore will soon have a new downtown storefront, doubling its current space. Miles Yanick & Co. is designing a new 7,000-square-foot building next to Arabella’s Landing. The project has a site plan and is in early permitting stages, with construction expected to start by the end of the year and be finished in time for a summer 2014 opening.

    Monday, June 3, 2013

    Bainbridge Island Museum of Art Opening June 14th!

    We are busy getting things wrapped up at the new Bainbridge Island Museum of Art which will officially open its doors on Friday, June 14th, with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:15 AM.



    Sunday, June 2, 2013

    Bainbridge Island Museum of Art - Grand Opening from Vision to Reality

    Learn more about the new Bainbridge Island Museum of Art,  the work that went into its creation, and the parties involved, in this magazine published by the Bainbridge Island Review.

    click here to view an electronic version of the magazine

    Tuesday, May 28, 2013

    Waypoint Project Wins 2013 State Municipal Excellence Award - INSIDE BAINBRIDGE

    Posted by on May 24, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Bainbridge Island’s Waypoint Project, which transformed our Island gateway to the peninsula from a pile of rubble into a richly landscaped and artfully designed park-walkway, has won the Municipal Excellence Award for Building Partnerships. The annual award is given by the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) for an exemplary collaborative city building project in the state.

    AWC Strategic Alliances Manager Michelle Harvey told me that the Waypoint Project stood out among the twelve competing community projects for its extensive community involvement and outstanding execution from the ground up. She said cities that applied for the Building Partnerships award ranged from Wenatchee to Cosmopolis. Bainbridge City Manager Doug Schulze applied for the award, and an independent judge selected the Waypoint Project for the honor.

    Harvey said award-winning projects are archived in an AWC database for other cities to review and learn from across the state.

    A film crew from AWC will visit Bainbridge Island on June 5 to interview people involved in the Waypoint and show off the finished project, which visitors and commuters enjoy daily as they pass through between the ferry and Winslow.

    The award will be presented at the 2013 AWC Annual Conference in Kennewick, Washington, at the Municipal Excellence Awards Breakfast on Thursday, June 27. The award itself will be a framed rendering of an image of Waypoint or its construction process to be hung in City Hall.

    Related Stories

    Read article here:

    Wednesday, May 22, 2013

    Bainbridge Island Gets an Art Museum - SEATTLE MAGAZINE



    Bainbridge Island showcases local bounty with a new, eco-friendly museum dedicated to area artists   


    Executive director Greg Robinson prepares for the June 14 grand opening of BIMA
    Creatively focused, eco-obsessed, possessing an urban sensibility and locavore leanings, beautiful without being braggy—the new Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA) might well be considered the embodiment of the island community itself. And just as the residents prefer the island’s laidback vibe to Seattle’s comparative bustle, BIMA supporters and staff have no intention of trying to compete with mainland art institutions, such as Seattle Art Museum. Instead, the focus is on contemporary work by artists from the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas and the western Puget Sound region. 
    Founding board member Cynthia Sears, who moved to Bainbridge from Los Angeles in the late 1980s and first began talking up the idea of building an art museum there in the early ’90s, says BIMA is perfectly content with being (as an actor friend of hers put it) “off Broadway.” “Not just smaller, but more regional,” Sears explains. “Less about big productions and famous work than about excellence of craft and helping newcomers get a foot in the door.”

    That door, by the way, is made from sustainable FSC-certified wood (and the foot is likely shod in a Keen athletic sandal). The new building, which came together thanks to a Bainbridge-based collaboration—The Island Gateway developers, Coates Design architects and PHC Construction—and a largely locally funded $15.6 million capital campaign, is anticipating LEED Gold certification. When that status becomes official, it will be the first art museum in the state (and one of only a few nationwide) to achieve such green street cred.

    The building is first and foremost inviting, thanks to a striking curve of tall windows that sweeps visitors toward the entrance. This translucency is intentional—people inside the museum can see their community going about its business outside, and people outside can see visitors going about the gallery within (and thereby feel a vicarious connection with local art). Indeed, the emphasis of the structure is not so much on the photovoltaic array, the geothermal heating and cooling or the low-flow toilets (and waterless urinals!), but on showcasing the thriving—but largely unsung—regional artist community.

    Part of Sears’ initial motivation was the question “If this is such an ‘artists’ haven’ (as the guide books told me), why wasn’t there a place where local art was on exhibit for the public?” While acknowledging the value of art shows at smaller, commercial galleries in the area, she contends, “A community that cares about art needs an art museum the same way a community that cares about literacy needs a public library—no matter how many bookstores might be nearby.”

    One of the opening exhibits is of work by Bainbridge Island artist and children’s book illustrator Barbara Helen Berger, who agrees with Sears, “Art doesn’t have to be remote.” As for the tone her inaugural exhibit sets for the museum, she speculates, “My show may convey part of the museum’s aim: to be inviting and welcoming for everyone, including children and families.”

    Greg Robinson, BIMA’s executive director and curator, points out that one of the significant local benefits of the museum is serving kids in the region—for whom taking a field trip to Seattle can be prohibitively complicated and expensive. “Having an art museum here increases the accessible and affordable options for schools in the Kitsap area,” he says. Sears adds that one of the boons of not charging an entrance fee is that it encourages people of all ages to stop by casually, making the viewing of art a regular part of everyday life. “I want kids and their families to feel comfortable just dropping in…to refresh their eyes and recharge their batteries,” she says.

    Port Townsend–based sculptor Margie McDonald also has work in the first BIMA show, in the commanding Beacon Gallery, an aptly named space fronted by a two-story bank of windows that faces the ferry terminal and stands as a guidepost for disembarking passengers. Her “millipede-like” piece—a 30-foot long underwater scene made with recycled copper, yacht rigging wire and salmon trolling wire—will hang in the window. “Seattle is tough for someone like me who doesn’t want to go to the big city very much,” McDonald says. “I think there’s some excitement here in Port Townsend that this is ‘our museum.’ BIMA feels like it’s on ‘our side’ of the water.”

    Sears believes the regional focus will foster what she calls the “OMG factor,” meaning the reaction, “OMG, that’s from here?” She hopes that, as a result, hometown visitors will support “their own” with even more vigor. “This is our art equivalent to the ‘eat locally’ movement,” she says.

    Robinson is “slowly and deliberately” expanding BIMA’s permanent collection in line with the goal of being “an incubator and a launching pad for emerging local artists.” (Sears notes, “We are on record as having promised our donors that if most of the artists we exhibit have not achieved national—or world!—recognition in 50 years, we will be happy to give them their money back.”) But Robinson emphasizes that rather than dictating a perspective, he and his team are looking to the artists to reveal what it means to live in the region. “We’re not coming in as the experts,” he says, “we’re coming in as discoverers. We’re exploring stories that haven’t been told yet.”

    Read article here:

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013

    Island Near Seattle To Open Rare LEED Gold Museum

    By their very nature, art museums are tightly controlled environments. To preserve the fragile and precious artifacts inside, the temperature, humidity and amount of direct sunlight must be kept within strict tolerances at all times, even after hours. Because of these requirements, it’s rare for museums to be energy efficient compared to other green buildings of their size.

    So, when the nearly completed Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA), near Seattle, announced recently that it had achieved LEED Gold status for its many energy conservation systems, the rest of the art world took notice that it is possible to be a steward of both the arts and the environment at the same time.

    The LEED Gold-certified Bainbridge Art Museum near Seattle is expected to open in June. Image by Coates Design via BIMA.

    Located a half-hour ferry ride across Puget Sound from downtown Seattle, BIMA is scheduled to open its doors on June 14, featuring a collection of mostly locally produced art works from the Puget Sound region, as well as other traveling exhibits from around the United States.

    The designer, Coates Design Architects, incorporated a number of sustainable aspects into the museum, including a geothermal energy system to heat and cool the building, solar panels to generate electricity, recycled building materials whenever possible, low-flow plumbing fixtures and a green roof to help absorb and reuse the abundant rainfall of the Pacific Northwest.

    Some of the extensive use of glass incorporated into the design to provide natural lighting. Image by Coates Design Architects via BIMA.

    On the south side of the building, Coates also included a sweeping 28-foot-tall wall of curved glass, allowing for striking views of the interior. To protect the art hanging inside from potential sun damage and solar gain, the glass wall is hugged by an array of horizontal wooden louvers that can automatically open and close depending on the angle of the sun. In the gallery spaces, natural daylight is provided by three skylights on the the upper floor. This light is scattered by curved baffles underneath the skylights, which create an even, diffused glow throughout the interior.

    A view of how BIMA will fit into the adjacent Island Gateway mixed-use development. Image via Coates Design Architects.

    BIMA will be the anchor tenant of the Island Gateway project, a group of high-end, mixed-use buildings, also designed by Coates.  The curved façade of BIMA will act as an entrance to an open plaza between the museum and the other Island Gateway buildings, which are within easy walking distance from the island’s ferry terminal.

    Monday, April 8, 2013

    Grow Community homes are 5-Star Built Green!

    We are very excited to announce that Grow Community homes have achieved 5-Star Built Green status, the highest rating for Built Green certification. Built Green is designed to help homebuyers find quality, affordable homes that offer opportunities to protect the health of their families and the Northwest environment. This is a great step forward in their efforts to create cost-effective, energy efficient One Planet homes on the cutting-edge of today's sustainable development practices.  
    Click here to read Built Green's case study on Grow Community.    



    NW Green Home Tour

    NW Green Home TourSaturday, April 27th 2013, 11am-5pm
    Grow Model Homes | 428 Grow Avenue NW, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110  

    Visit these Built Green 5-Star Homes on April 27th! Grow Community will be one of the stops on the NW Green Home Tour. Co-produced by Northwest Eco Building Guild Seattle Chapter and Built Green this tour is a FREE spring event. This will be the 3rd Annual NW Green Home Tour for Seattle, Bainbridge Island + Eastside.

    To learn more about the tour go to the NW Eco Building Guild website.

    Thursday, March 21, 2013

    Grow Community was awarded the 2013 Futurewise Livable Communities Award

    2013 Futurewise Livable Communities AwardGrow Community was awarded the 2013 Futurewise Livable Communities Award for Overall Excellence in Residential Community Development. 

     "The Grow Community development was selected because it demonstrates the extraordinary value of innovation in sustainable green building, reduced carbon footprint, transit oriented, and creating healthy communities with a strong sense of place. As the only One Planet Community project in Washington State, the second in the nation, and the fifth in the world, your development is pushing the needle of where our built environment needs to be going if we are truly going to create sustainable healthy 
     - Hilary Franz, Futurewise Executive Director 


    Community Attraction Aims to be Washington State's first LEED Gold Certified Museum

    Market Watch - The Wall Street Journal
    March 21, 2013, 10:30 a.m. EDT

    BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash., March 21, 2013 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Situated on a prominent corner of Bainbridge Island, Washington, across from the Seattle-Bainbridge Island ferry terminal, the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA) is scheduled to open its doors on June 14th 2013. The museum will feature its collection of artworks from the Puget Sound region of the United States as well as traveling exhibits.

    BIMA is the anchor tenant of the Island Gateway project, a high-end mixed-use development also designed by Coates Design Architects. The building's striking curved form opens up the plaza between the museum and its adjacent building, drawing visitors toward the entrance. "We wanted it to be accessible, approachable, inviting," says architect Matthew Coates.

    The south side of the building has a skin that is comprised of 28' tall curved glass, offering a transparent view into the museum. Mounted lights will allow the museum to illuminate at night and act as a beacon that is visible from multiple vantages. Coates Design Architects created curved wood louvers to wrap around the outside of the glass to provide ample shade for the artwork. The louvers are automatically controlled by a light sensor that triggers them to open and close in response to the quantity of sunlight and the sun's movement. On the second, uppermost level of the building, three long strip skylights permit natural light into the main gallery space. Curved baffled light shelves float underneath the skylights, diffusing the light to create a pleasant ambiance.

    Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold designation, certified by the US Green Building Council, is a challenging goal for museums as they are inherently energy-intensive due to such narrow tolerances in regard to humidity and temperature stability. In order to achieve this certification, the following features were included in BIMA's design: geothermal energy, daylighting control, solar panels, use of rapidly renewable and recycled materials, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and a vegetated roof garden.

    Coates Design Architects specializes in sustainable design and green building techniques. The firm's managing partner, Matthew Coates, achieved international acclaim by winning the Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Home Design Competition in 2005. Recent achievements include the first LEED Platinum residence outside of the Seattle City limits, the LEED Silver Bainbridge Island Kid's Discovery Museum, and the Island Gateway development, targeted for LEED Silver.

    SOURCE:  Coates Design Architects

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    Art meets science at Bainbridge museum - KITSAP SUN

    By Tad Sooter 
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 7:12 p.m.

    The new building taking shape in Winslow goes to great lengths (and depths) to increase efficiency.
    — Some of the most interesting features of the new Bainbridge Island Museum of Art building begin 400 feet underground.

    That’s how deep the deepest of its 14 geothermal wells are drilled, wells that will harness stable temperatures underground to help heat and cool the building. High above, a rooftop photovoltaic array will harvest solar energy while a second-story garden recycles rainwater. Rows of louvers along the curving glass front of the building will open and close automatically to let in light or block out glare.

    Gilbert Dominguez works this week inside the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, which is taking shape in Winslow. The museum is scheduled to open June 14.

    “It will be a reminder to visitors that this building is alive,” museum Executive Director Greg Robinson said. “It’s changing and adapting to the environment.”

    The museum, now in its final phase of construction at Highway 305 and Winslow Way, is being built to showcase energy efficient design alongside Northwest artwork. The structure is expected to qualify for a gold rating under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, which awards points for energy conservation and use of recyclable materials among other categories. More than 90 percent of the construction materials used in the museum can be recycled at the end of the building’s predicted 100 year life span, architect Matthew Coates said.

    All told, renewable energy will offset about one third of the museum’s energy needs. Coates said that figure is “significant,” given the demands of lighting, heating and climate control in a 20,000-square-foot museum.

    “Museums are notoriously energy inefficient,” he said.

    The green features will soon be put to the test. The museum recently announced a final $1.2 million fundraising push to close out its $15.6 million capital campaign. A grand opening is set for June 14.
    As interesting as the design work was, Robinson said he is eager to finish construction and bring in the art.

    “We didn’t just set out to build a building,” he said. “We set out to open a museum and a new cultural amenity.”

    That quest began in earnest about three years ago when a board of directors formed and launched a capital campaign. The museum completed a first phase of construction 2011, which included an auditorium, classrooms and a small gallery. The spaces were made available for community events.
    The full museum was expected to open in the summer of 2012. The date was pushed back a year as donations lagged.

    Now fundraising and construction are on track for an early summer opening. Saws and hammers clamored inside the building during a hard-hat tour early this week.

    The museum’s most prominent feature is the two-story curved glass facade, which opens a cutaway view of the museum’s interior. The design was the favorite among 12 presented to members of the public during planning meetings.

    “I think it creates a graceful presence on the street,” Coates said.

    Visitors who enter from the main Winslow Way entrance will be greeted by a reception space, bookended by a gift shop an a “bistro” dining area. The museum’s permanent art collection will rotate through a 1,000-square-foot gallery on the main floor.

    A broad staircase leads to a second floor landing with a view of the new Waypoint park and a broad stretch of Winslow Way. The expanse of glass keeps the museum connected to the world around it, Coates said.

    “Having a lot of transparency and allowing that connection was one of the most important parts of the design,” he said. “From the outside you’ll be able to see people inside experiencing art, and from the inside you’ll look out and see your community members.”

    The second floor art experience begins with the “Beacon” gallery, sized for small solo artist shows. It leads to the museum’s main gallery, a 2,500-square-foot space for traveling exhibits. Movable walls will give curators flexibility to section out the room as needed. Behind the main exhibition room, another small gallery lined with glass cases will display three dimensional pieces and touchable artwork.

    Several doors on the second floor open onto terrace overlooking Winslow Way. The patio is bare now, but will soon be outfitted with a rain garden courtesy of island gardeners George and David Lewis, of Little & Lewis fame.

    “They’re doing a simple but very beautiful design,” Robinson said.

    Other museum spaces are hidden from public view. In the basement, an archive room will store artwork when it’s not on display upstairs. The archive is climate controlled and secured against burglary.

    “I like to tell people on tours that they’ll probably never see this room again,” museum Development Director Renate Raymond said.

    The museum is still collecting pieces for its permanent display but plans to showcase a diverse assortment of contemporary art representing Puget Sound and West Sound. As for the temporary displays, Robinson said the museum sees itself as a “launching pad for new artists.”

    “How wonderful it would be if in 20 years we’re borrowing work from another regional museum that came from an artist who we debuted for the first time,” he said.

    Robinson expects to announce the museum’s first offering of programs and exhibits next month as the June opening nears. General admission to the museum will be free and exact hours have yet to be set.
    The museum will operate in an “open house” format for the first six weeks after opening, meaning visitors can view exhibits and participate in workshops as they wish. After six weeks the museum will begin selling tickets for some of its lectures, classes and special events.

    And after that, “we’re open for the next hundred years,” Robinson said.