Shaping Seattle Through Architecture
For over 20 years, Ray Calabro has worked with Seattle architecture firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson to integrate buildings into the landscapes of cities across the western United States and Canada. His Grand Teton Discovery and Visitor Center, which celebrate the river and mountain range around it, won multiple awards from the American Institute of Architecture (AIA). Calabro also serves on the board of ARCADE, a local non-profit that supports dialogue about design in the Northwest. He answered a few questions about the city’s architecture, current projects, and favorite after-work destinations.
How would you describe the architecture scene in Seattle? Any trends to highlight?
The architecture scene in Seattle is exciting right now. Major infrastructure projects like Waterfront Seattle that is being led by Field Operations will have a significant impact on the city’s connection to Elliott Bay. I’m a fan of the new UW Light Rail Station by LMN Architects, and my friend Leo Berk did the art installation.
You’re working on a major headquarters for Expedia right now, one of many corporate “campuses” surrounding the city + on the West Coast. What’s the impact of these type of large-scale corporate projects on the city? What distinguishes your plans for the Expedia campus in particular?
I think we’re seeing a real commitment on the part of companies like Expedia to be located downtown where there is access to a younger, more dynamic workforce. Proximity to the exceptional retail and restaurant scene as well as cultural facilities like the Olympic Sculpture Park that have views to Elliott Bay and the Olympic mountains are significant amenities for people working in Seattle.
BCJ has worked on nightclubs, residences, museums, libraries, corporate facilities, and more. What’s your favorite type of project and why?
My favorite projects are those where we and the client had a sense of shared vision and great enthusiasm – that always makes for a more rewarding project. Projects such as Q Nightclub and the Grand Teton Discovery and Visitor Center are good examples.
After a long day of work, any favorite spots in the city to visit?
Current restaurant favorites include Mamnoon, Single Shot, and Lionhead, all of which are in my Capitol Hill neighborhood. For drinks after work, I’d head to Jarrbar or Le Pichet.