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You are here: Home Summit EcoBuilding 2015 Archive 2015 Speakers Leah Martin and Katie Cote, Allied8

Leah Martin and Katie Cote, Allied8

With a little creativity and elbow grease, beauty can rise from the rubble. At a construction site in India a pile of stone slabs is delivered. Each slab gets trimmed to be just right before installed as a floor. What’s left is a pile of rubble. Wait, it doesn’t have to be. The larger scrap pieces are laid down in a mosaic pattern on the exterior balconies. The spaces between stones are filled with smaller scrap pieces and the remaining gravel is pulverized into grout creating a rich finish that is maintenance free. All that remains is the dust carried away by the wind.
Leah Martin and Katie Cote, Allied8

Waste Not: How to Be a Small-Scale Developer in the Big City

With a little creativity and elbow grease, beauty can rise from the rubble. At a construction site in India a pile of stone slabs is delivered. Each slab gets trimmed to be just right before installed as a floor. What’s left is a pile of rubble. Wait, it doesn’t have to be. The larger scrap pieces are laid down in a mosaic pattern on the exterior balconies. The spaces between stones are filled with smaller scrap pieces and the remaining gravel is pulverized into grout creating a rich finish that is maintenance free. All that remains is the dust carried away by the wind.

This isn’t to say India is perfect by any stretch of the imagination. However, India has a deeply ingrained behavior of using and reusing everything. As Americans we have a long sordid past of waste. Turning that tide around is proving to be our biggest challenge. How often in the construction industry are we faced with this question, “Would it be cheaper to rebuild or remodel?” Usually the answer is “rebuild.” In our presentation, we will make a case that remodeling or adaptively reusing a building is not only cheaper, but is more lucrative for owners and developers, more socially and economically just, and more environmentally sound. We also will discuss how this idea can be applied to the scale of the neighborhood where small and sensible infill projects create incremental density. According to the 2014 King County Buildable Lands Report Seattle will have no visible shortage of housing capacity through 2031. But look closer... Three quarters of the “available land” will be in the Central Business District, South Lake Union and other designated centers. The zoned capacity dictates large developments funded by multiple investors and built by out-of-state conglomerate developers. This doesn’t leave much room for the small-scale developer who could provide density at a more incremental scale and affordable price. Some argue that attempting small-scale multi-family development in Seattle isn’t profitable due to restrictions on size. We will highlight a half dozen multifamily projects that our firm has designed that employ adaptive reuse, incremental infill and resource efficient strategies to create incremental density, affordable housing solutions and a profitable bottom line.

Bios

Leah Martin, Founding Partner and Architect, Allied8

Leah has over 20 years of experience in architectural design. A licensed architect for 13 years, Leah has worked on projects large and small. Her design efforts emphasize the big picture, constantly seeking answers to broad questions like: how does a building or site respond to the sun or winds, what are the best strategies for daylighting and passive design; and what alternative energy sources can be utilized on a project. Even more importantly she is driven by the fundamental questions: are we furthering the public interest; is this project helping; and are we meeting the challenge asked of us.

Katie Cote, Executive Director and Land Use Planner, Allied8

Katie is a certified professional planner with eight years of experience in land use planning, zoning feasibility, and environmental review. Her clients have included both the public and private sector, for whom she has facilitated visioning processes, provided regulatory due diligence, and managed permitting and approvals. Katie applies her deep knowledge of land use laws and planning to inform the early stages of site feasibility resulting in site and development plans that achieve her clients’ goals while standing up to regulatory muster. Katie aims to make planning more accessible by translating plannerese into useful guidance.

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