Peter Walker, original landscape architect, makes case for limiting development to original master plan; IRG not interested

Icons of the architecture world have teamed up to make a case for changes to Industrial Realty Group's warehouse plans on the historically and architecturally significant Weyerhaeuser campus.

The team included Peter Walker, the original landscape architect for the campus; Craig Hartman of SOM (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill), the original architects; and landscape architect René Bihan, principal at SWA’s San Francisco office.

The architects made a presentation at the January 15, 2021, Section 106 historical review consultation meeting conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Because IRG needs a permit from the Corps to fill wetlands on the site of Warehouses A and B, the Corps must determine how to avoid, minimize or mitigate adverse effects to the historic campus caused by the development. (Save Weyerhaeuser Campus is an official consulting party to the process, able to make suggestions for minimization/mitigation.)

The team of architects pointed out that an early master plan for the campus showed developed on the A/B site, but that the two warehouses proposed there exceed that intended development "pod" by more than 50 percent. They proposed limiting development within that pod. That effectively would allow a single warehouse and its associated parking and stormwater detention pond.

The team’s efforts were dismissed by Dana Ostensen of IRG, who said it is too late in the process to change the footprint or the design of the warehouses. (Note: Warehouse A is in the city building permit process and Warehouse B has received environmental approval from the City of Federal Way but is awaiting land-use approval before it can move to the building permit phase.)

Ostensen also turned down a suggestion by Allyson Brooks, the Washington State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) to get this remarkable team of architects together with IRG’s designers and come up with some design options that could lessen the impacts of two 200,000-plus-square-foot warehouses on a campus that some people in architecture circles call the best in the world.

See some of the slides from the architects' presentation below (click on each image to enlarge).