An Event of Interest…

Here is an event, co-sponsored by the Washington Trust, HistoricSeattle and AIA Seattle, that you may be interested in registering for and attending next week. The link between sustainability and building reuse may not be obvious to all, but is substantial and well-documented here.

The Greenest Building: Documentary Screening and Discussion
Thursday, March 13, 6 – 8 pm
Seattle Central Library Auditorium, 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA
To register, go to

Attend a free showing of The Greenest Building, an hour-long documentary produced by filmmaker Jane Turville.  The film presents a compelling overview of the important role building reuse plays in creating sustainable communities, and explores the myth that a “green building” is a new building and demonstrates how renovation and adaptive reuse of existing structures fully achieves the sustainability movement’s “triple bottom line.”

Over the next 20 years, Americans will demolish one third of our existing building stock (over 82 billion square feet) in order to replace seemingly inefficient buildings with energy efficient “green” structures.  Is demolition in the name of sustainability really the best use of natural, social, and economic resources?  Or, like the urban renewal programs of the 1960’s, is this well-intentioned planning with devastating environmental and cultural consequences?

The film reveals:  (a) how reuse and reinvestment in the existing built environment leads to stronger local economies that can compete on a global scale, (b) that sense of place and collective memory, while intangible, are critical components of strong sustainable communities, and (c) the direct correlation between reuse of existing buildings and a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, degradation of the natural environment and overuse of precious natural resources.

Turville will introduce the film and moderate a discussion by a panel of experts, including Chris Moore, Executive Director, Washington Trust for Historic Preservation; Michael Malone, Principal, Hunters Capital; and Mark Huppert, Senior Director, Preservation Green Lab at National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The event is co-sponsored by the Seattle Public Library, Hunters Capital, RAFN, Preservation Green Lab, ULI Northwest, Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, AIA Seattle, and Seattle Architecture Foundation.

For more information visit

Important Neighborhood Meeting Thursday Feb. 27th

We would like to urge our neighbors and fellow friends of the Battelle/Talaris campus to join us on Thursday Feb. 27th at the Laurelhurst Community Center 6:30pm.


A required scoping meeting on the alternatives, environmental impacts and mitigation measures which should be addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement and a requested public meeting will be held on February 27, 2014, 6:30PM-8:30PM at the Laurelhurst Community Center located at 4554 NE 41st Street. (No change in the date, location or starting time of the meeting from the notice provided on January 30.)  This room is accessible to persons with disabilities. Print and communication access may be provided by prior request.


Written comments may be submitted through February 27, 2014 and should be sent to or mailed to:

Attn: Lindsay King, Senior Land Use Planner
700 5th Avenue, Suite 2000
PO Box 34019
Seattle, Washington 98124-4019

Letter To Our Laurelhurst Neighbors

February 20, 2014

To our Laurelhurst neighbors:

As Laurelhurst residents responsible for the historic designation of the Battelle/Talaris site by the Seattle Landmarks Board, we, the Friends of Battelle/Talaris, are participating in meetings with representatives of the owners and the LCC to encourage them to work toward a preservation path acceptable to both parties, one that is best for the entire site and the buildings.  Our role in these meetings is to remind the other participants of the significance of landmark designation.  An insistence on focusing only on subdivision of the property into single-family housing is not compatible with preservation.  There is a broader preservation interest beyond Laurelhurst.

As part of the review process by the Department of Planning and Development, the Seattle Landmarks Board will measure and evaluate any development proposal by applying the US Secretary of Interior’s Standard for Treatment of Historic Properties.  These standards include acknowledging the historic use of the property as well as evaluating the significance of the buildings and open spaces. Ideally, the current buildings would be updated, new buildings would be compatible with the originals, much of the open space would be saved, and the campus would continue to be used as a place where scholars, public employees and citizens could meet as they have done at the site since its inception. Most important, the final outcome has to be one that makes the property economically viable to the owner.

The original master plan design by the Richard Haag Associates and NBBJ demonstrated a remarkable integration of site, nature and structure that has retained its low environmental impact and neighborhood compatibility for almost 50 years. We believe these characteristics should and can be retained with sensitive, compatible development.

We are hopeful that the three parties represented in our discussions – the owners, the LCC and us, as preservation advocates, can reach a solution compatible with the site’s environmentally-sensitive areas (including Yesler Creek, identified wetlands and wildlife habitat), with its historic use, and with its nationally recognized architecture, while ensuring continuing compatibility with the character of the surrounding Laurelhurst neighborhood and the city itself.  We believe this outcome is achievable in our city that seeks viable and sustainable redevelopment.  We have a unique opportunity to preserve this treasure.


Friends of Battelle/Talaris

Battelle/Talaris Campus Designated A Seattle Historic Landmark!

Today the City of Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board voted to designate the historic Talaris Institute campus (formerly known as the Battelle Memorial Institute) as an Historic Seattle Landmark. The eleven member board listened to a presentation by members of Friends of Battlle/Talaris, Eugenia Woo of Historic Seattle and David Hoedemaker, the original design/build architect for the project in 1966. The vote to designate was unanimous. Friends of Battelle/Talaris would like to thank all our Laurelhurst neighbors who supported the nomination, Chris Moore with Washington Trust for Historic Preservation  and especially Ms. Eugenia Woo with Historic Seattle who worked tirelessly for the success of the nomination, and without whose help the designation of this civic treasure would simply not have been possible.

Battelle Memorial Institute Seattle Research Center/Talaris Conference Center To Be Considered For Nomination As A Seattle Landmark

For Immediate Release

Battelle Memorial Institute Seattle Research Center/

Talaris Conference Center

4000 NE 41st, Seattle, WA 98105

to be considered for nomination as a

Seattle Landmark

Seattle, WA – August 19, 2013. The Friends of Battelle/Talaris submitted a Seattle Landmark Nomination Report for the former Battelle Memorial Institute Seattle Research Center to the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board on March 28, 2013 (revised August 5, 2013). Both Historic Seattle and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation support the nomination.

The nomination will be presented to the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board at a public meeting scheduled for Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 3:30 PM in the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Avenue, 40th Floor in Room 4060.

Please show support by attending the meeting by 4:00 PM and providing public comment (generally limited to 2 minutes per person). Written comments (email and letters) are very effective and should be received by the Landmarks Preservation Board by Friday, September 13, 2013 at the following email or mailing addresses:


Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board

c/o Erin Doherty, Landmarks Preservation Board Coordinator


Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board

Seattle Dept. of Neighborhoods

P.O. Box 94649

Seattle, WA 98124-4649

The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Historic Preservation Program coordinates the Landmarks Preservation Board. The Historic Preservation Program handles the identification and protection of more than 400 historic structures, sites, objects and vessels, as well as eight historic districts throughout Seattle.

The Friends of Battelle/Talaris remains focused on the preservation of this architectural, historic and culturally significant neighborhood resource. We encourage responsible and sustainable efforts by ownership and fellow neighborhood groups that support this end. We invite all our friends and neighbors to support this nomination by joining us at the meeting on September 18th and/or submitting emails and letters of support.


1. Who are the Friends of Battlle/Talaris?

FOBT is a group of Laurelhurst residents who in March 2012 formed an interest in preserving the Battelle/Talaris site, landscape and buildings based on their unique modernist design and intact original character.

2. Why is Seattle Landmarks designation being pursued for the Battelle/Talaris property?

Nomination/designation is being pursued to preserve and protect the property and to seek formal recognition of the property’s historic, cultural and architectural significance. Recent development proposals may adversely affect the integrity of the site. Landmarks designation is an opportunity for our city and its citizens to acknowledge and preserve our city’s history and cultural heritage.

3. Why is the Battelle/Talaris property historically significant?

The Battelle/Talaris property was originally developed and constructed in two phases between 1965 and 1970.

  • The site and its improvements are an easily identifiable visual feature of the Laurelhurst neighborhood because of its prominence, spatial character, and unique integration of architecture and site.
  • The site design and architecture of Battelle/Talaris embody the distinctive aracteristics of Modernist design and the Modern Movement in Seattle.
  • The property is an early environmentally responsive, integrated site and architectural design and is an outstanding example of the work of Richard Haag Associates (landscape architect) and NBBJ, Inc (architect), both nationally recognized for their achievements.
  • It is the only private research campus of its type in Seattle and is associated in a significant way with the cultural and economic heritage of the city as a center for research in science and technology and the application of the physical sciences to the social sciences.

4. What is the Seattle Landmarks designation process?

The Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board reviews landmark nominations prepared by any person or group. Nominations are considered under a set of six designation standards to determine a property’s architectural merit, history and significance to the city and its neighborhoods. Deliberations by members of the Board are held in public and are based on the nomination report presented and whether the property meets at least one of the six designation standards in addition to meeting the threshold criteria of age and integrity/ability to convey significance.

5. What does landmark designation mean for the property and its ownership?

As a designated Seattle Landmark, the property would be protected under the design review authority of the Landmarks Preservation Board, if there is a written controls and incentives agreement between the City and owner. Proposed changes to the property are considered in public meetings and subject to public comment. To obtain a Certificate of Approval from the Board, proposals for changes to the property must be determined to be compatible with Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

6. If the Friends of Battelle/Talaris had not submitted a landmark nomination for the property, would the City require a nomination to be filed anyway?

Given the nature of the property owner’s proposed two options to redevelop the site— low-impact residential or single-family (89 SF lots), the City would most likely require the developer to submit a landmark nomination for consideration by the Board as part of SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act) review for the development proposals.

7. Is the property listed on the National Register of Historic Places?

The property was deemed eligible for individual listing on the National Register of Historic Places by the State Architectural Historian for the Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation.

8. Where do I obtain copy of the Battelle/Talaris landmark nomination and learn more about the landmark nomination process?

You may download a pdf of the nomination report from the Department of Neighborhoods website. Follow link:

To learn more about the process, view this link:

Questions? Contact Friends of Battelle/Talaris at:

Visit us on Facebook:

or at our web page:

Press Release From Washington Trust for Historic Preservation

The  Battelle/Talaris site has just been named to the  Most Endangered Historic Properties list by Washington Trust for Historic Preservation. This is great news, bringing this exceptional property to the attention of the local, regional and national preservation community.




FOR RELEASE:                                                            CONTACT:              Chris Moore, Field Director

6:00 PM on Wednesday, May 15, 2013                                     Washington Trust for Historic Preservation


Former Research Campus in Seattle’s Laurelhurst Neighborhood Lands on Endangered List


Vancouver, Washington:  The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation announced its annual list of Most Endangered Historic Properties in the State of Washington on Wednesday, May 15 at the opening reception of the RevitalizeWA conference in Vancouver.

Included in the 2013 list is a former research campus dedicated to science and technology.  From the late 1960s the Battelle/Talaris Campus in Laurelhurst served as the Seattle campus of the Battelle Memorial Institute, a science and technology development company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. With the company’s objective of benefiting mankind through science, technological innovation, educational activities and the dissemination of knowledge, the campus provided a unique environment for scholars to engage in advanced creative research. The property is also architecturally significant to the region as the campus concept, landscape and building design represents an important example of a mid-century move toward environmentally responsive design. David Hoedemaker of the Seattle-based architectural firm NBBJ was the project architect, while Richard Haag, the award-winning designer of Seattle’s Gasworks Park, designed the landscape. By 1997, Battelle outgrew the location, which subsequently served as home to the Talaris Institute, an organization dedicated to early childhood development. In 2012, the property changed hands once again and the new owner presented plans for redevelopment.  The preferred development scenario retains many features of the designed landscape, but indicates several key buildings are being considered for demolition, leaving only the foundations. A second development scenario envisions over 90 single family homes on the site – an outcome that would all but erase the existing campus setting. Concerned with losing the site’s delicate balance of the built and natural environment, a group of concerned neighbors formed Friends of Battelle/Talaris. The Friends have engaged with the owners and other neighborhood stakeholders to support a plan for the site that meets the owner’s development needs while retaining the historic integrity of the resource.

Welcome to Friends of Battelle/Talaris

We are an informal Laurelhurst neighborhood group dedicated to preserving and protecting the essential buildings and landscape of this landmark site.

We are not opposed to development. However, we believe that the site can be developed sustainably with proper care to preserve the architectural integrity, the spirit and the seamless integration of its buildings and landscape. We believe that improvements to the site can and must be compatible with the character of the neighborhood. Further, we believe that Battelle/Talaris is important to the our city and region as both an early example of good environmentally-responsible design by some of the Northwest’s best design practitioners and as a precursor of today’s diverse technology-centered economy.

The Battelle/Talaris campus has a long and sometimes contentious history with the neighborhood. Reason, courtesy and understranding can go far in advancing the goals of the campus owners and concerned neighbors.

We will be posting items of interest about Battelle/Talaris and updates regarding the landmark nomination we are pursuing for aesthetic and historic significance.

Please add your comments and send items of interest to us at