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University Architect

  • Industry: Facilities Management
  • Location: Seattle, Washington
  • Client: Institution - Higher Education
  • Search ID: 18-1104-07

University of Washington (UW) has retained Helbling to conduct an executive search to secure a University Architect. 

Overview

The University Architect position is a campus stewardship role carried out through leadership and collaboration within Capital Planning & Development (CPD), Facilities, and throughout the University. The University Architect is a key leadership position uniquely responsible for providing strategic and technical advice and guidance focused on the preservation and development of the best qualities of the campus setting (university assets, facilities and grounds). To accomplish this, the University Architect is an important and influential voice in the University’s planning, capital budget, site selection, project formation, designer selection, project execution and design, and policy processes, and in any discussions and processes that shape the campus setting.

This involves:
  • Strategically planning for the growth and development of the campus physical assets to achieve the University’s long-term campus visions in Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma.
  • Guiding design of University capital facilities and site features through involvement and advising processes associated with campus design formally (University of Washington (UW) Architectural Commission, University Landscape Advisory Committee, Design Review Boards) and informally (project team participation and design review).
  • Stewarding both the legacy and the future of UW’s beautiful campuses, the genius of which is the interactive, symbiotic meshing of the built and natural environments, creating a seamlessly-integrated campus setting that supports the University’s mission at all scales of human experience (institutional, academic, cultural and individual), and all scales of development (development site, site vicinity, campus area, landscape ecosystem, campus-wide, community, and regional).

The University Architect will ensure the University is adhering to the 2018 Campus Master Plan (CMP) and will help determine how to best implement the CMP. The CMP’s general underlying approach is to align the Seattle campus’ evolving needs for a 10-year conceptual plan within the long-term vision for the campus. Issues considered in the 10-year planning horizon are: anticipated enrollment growth, increased teaching and research demands, future transportation needs, economic growth, and the needs of the University community. The CMP authorizes the University to significantly increase its gross square feet over the next 10 plus years to support the campus’ 2028 population. For more information related to the 2018 Campus Master Plan, visit: https://cpd.uw.edu/campus-master-plan.

The University Architect reports to the Associate Vice President for Capital Planning & Development. Working in close partnership with the University Landscape Architect and collaboratively with relevant stakeholders, the University Architect advocates and advises to ensure that the functionality, serviceability, and aesthetics of the University’s physical setting are maintained at a very high standard. UW is embarking on a 5-year capital plan approaching $2B that will allow UW’s three physical campuses to continually adapt in response to changing demand, and in response to relevant social, technological, economic, cultural, and political issues and trends. Anticipating and identifying key issues, and creating and coordinating or resolving responses to them engages the University Architect with all those planning, designing, and executing capital projects as well as with those responsible for their operations and maintenance. 

The University Architect provides leadership, counsel, and oversight to all physical planning and design activities, including master planning, special topic planning, site selection, building programming, planning and design, and infrastructure planning for all three UW campuses. The goal of the University Architect’s engagement is to ensure continuity of the University’s commitment and legacy of excellent architecture, landscape architecture, and planning of these major investments of university resources, the irreplaceable campus settings.

The University Architect and the University Landscape Architect function as the UW’s Office of the University Architect, part of the strategic function of the office of the Capital Planning & Development Associate Vice President. Together and individually, they function as the campus settings’ owner representatives regarding design and planning issues, representing and advocating a singular campus-wide view of the complex perspectives, experiences and systems that comprise the campus setting. They operate across a range of scales from the big-picture to design details. They address a range of timeframes from long-term to immediate. 

This work includes managing peer review throughout design using such mechanisms as the UW Architectural Commission (UWAC), the University Landscape Advisory Committee (ULAC), the Design Review Board (DRB), participation as planning and design team members for all capital projects having impact on the campus setting, and participation in executive committees having oversight and conflict resolution roles in managing capital projects.

Responsibilities

  • Diagnose and prescribe necessary planning studies, analyses, and initiatives necessary to implement the core elements of the campus master plans at each campus. (20%)
  • Effectively guide and advocate in the implementation of each campus’ master plan to ensure the achievement of the underlying goals, working with staff, consultants, and the community or general public as projects move forward. (20%)
  • Advise and influence UW colleagues, senior leadership, staff, consultants, and general public as a key team member, strategist, and facilitator on achieving a high quality campus environment across the UW campuses. (20%)
  • Work to maximize positive and avoid cumulative negative impacts on the campus environment through oversight of multiple small, as well as large decisions about site selection, site development / use, application of building and landscape materials, massing and scale, etc., through chairing the UWAC, the ULAC, and DRB in other project-focused advice working with project managers and as a project team member and/or advisor, articulating, managing, and pursuing the study of campus-wide issues. (10%)
  • Staff support to and leadership participation on UWAC, ULAC and DRB, including scheduling, agenda-setting and management and follow-up on design guidance with project managers and design teams; Project Executive Committee participation as assigned; and design team membership / role providing design and planning guidance throughout the planning and design processes. (5%)
  • Strategic project definition bridging between high-level campus-wide strategic development, and planning activities and project definition and formation, working closely with campus and facilities leadership in multiple departments and units, including CSM, Facilities Services, Transportation Services, Campus Engineering, Grounds Maintenance, External Relations, UWIT, Advancement, Major and Special capital Projects groups, and others. (10%)
  • Strategic project team lead for key planning initiatives, etc. (10%)
  • Supervision of professional staff, student interns, and others as assigned. (5%)

About University of Washington

UW is one of the nation’s most distinguished educational and research institutions. Ranked in the world’s top 15 universities in measures that include US News & World Report and The Academic Ranking of World Universities, UW is one of the oldest state-supported institutions of higher education on the Pacific coast. Together, the University’s three campuses in Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell anchor the Puget Sound region and are firmly established as the pinnacle of the higher education system in Washington State. All three campuses benefit from the region’s Pacific Rim location, from the growth of the Pacific Northwest, and from the growth and dynamism of Seattle. 

Together, the UW’s three campuses educate approximately 32,000 undergraduates and 15,000 graduate and professional students, with about 6,000 students at both Bothell and Tacoma. In addition, the UW’s Continuum College programs (online, MOOCs, summer programs, and extension activities) educate another 49,000 students each year. The urban campus setting encompasses 634 acres. For additional data about the University, see http://www.washington.edu/about/.

The Seattle campus’ 16 schools range from Arts & Sciences to Education, Engineering, Built Environments, Information, Public Health, Law, Business, and Medicine. Average time to complete an undergraduate degree is four years, and 83% of entering freshman graduate within six years. The University’s historic commitment to accessibility and aid is evident in the increase in the percentage of undergraduates from under-represented minority groups (up to 18% in FY 2010), the percentage of students eligible for Pell Grants (29%, more Pell-eligible students matriculate at UW than at all Ivy League institutions combined), and the number of students who are first-generation college matriculants (31%). 

The UW receives more research dollars than any other public university in the nation, with $1.628B in awards in FY 2017. With $6.1B in revenues for its 2017 fiscal year, the University is one of the five largest employers in the state; factoring in the revenues from its affiliated hospitals, the University’s FY 2017 budget was $7.25B. Its annual economic impact on the state of Washington is now $12.5B, up from $9.1B just five years ago. At the end of FY 2017, the University’s consolidated endowment exceeded $3B. The University’s financial reports are available at http://finance.uw.edu/financial-report-archive

UW staff enjoy outstanding benefits and professional growth opportunities and an environment noted for diversity, community involvement, intellectual excitement, artistic pursuits, and natural beauty. Seattle is the nation’s fastest-growing city, with a population of approximately 700,000 in the city proper and over two million including surrounding King County. Major corporations headquartered in the Puget Sound area include Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Costco, and Weyerhaeuser. Seattle’s average household income is over $60,000, and more than 55% of residents hold a four-year college degree or higher.

The University is governed by a 10-member Board of Regents, which is appointed by the governor of Washington State to renewable six-year terms, and includes one student appointed annually. The Regents meet monthly in open session and have three standing committees – Governance, Finance and Asset Management, and Academic and Student Affairs. 

In 1957, Board of Regents established the UW Architectural Commission (UWAC) to advise the board and president on matters concerning the design, function, performance, and environmental integrity of the university’s buildings, landscapes, infrastructure, and urban amenities. The Commission is comprised of renowned architects and reviews and evaluates plans and projects that affect the aesthetic character and composition of the University’s three campuses. The UWAC reviews the selection of building sites, the design of new buildings and public spaces, major additions and modifications to these elements, and campus plans; and it issues general and specific recommendations related to these elements, and to design and planning policies that ensure the aesthetic and historic integrity of the public settings of university life. The commission assists the regents and president in the selection of architects and consultants for all projects that influence the physical and aesthetic character of its campuses, and periodically reviews the design of these projects through all phases of their development. In addition, the commission periodically reviews and evaluates the University campus master and subsidiary plans, and advises the president on related architectural and environmental issues as they may arise, including historic conservation. 

Location

Seattle is a city of self-starters who believe that anything is possible when they work together. They are adventurous and entrepreneurial, caffeinated, and connected. This global hub for innovation is an international epicenter for turning ideas into actions, and the UW is at the heart of it. Whether you are into art or food, history or tech, city living or the outdoors, there is a community for you here. From historic districts rich with culture to vibrant hubs buzzing with new businesses, the neighborhoods offer plenty of ways to explore like a local. Enjoy a beach town vibe in West Seattle, dance the night away in Capitol Hill, dine at on-trend eateries in Ballard, discover the intersection of art and history in Pioneer Square, and much more across town.

With everything from unrivaled natural beauty and world-class attractions to major sports teams, a thriving arts and culture scene, and beyond, there is always something to do in Seattle. Everyone should experience the Space Needle and Pike Place Market at least once, but those are not the only draws worth a visit. Seattle has so much to offer, from major attractions to unexpected surprises. Every day of the year, there is a festival, performance, concert, reading, or sporting event happening in Seattle.

Seattle is not nicknamed the Emerald City by accident — the greenery is something to behold year-round. There is no shortage of ways to get out and explore in this nature-filled mecca. Dig in and see why people from all walks of life – locals and visitors, artists and innovators, explorers and dreamers – are inspired by the urban natural spaces of Seattle.

Seattle has a reputation as one of the greatest arts cities in the world—after all, this is the home of music legends like Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, and Pearl Jam. Dancers, artists, musicians, and writers showcase their craft in new and unexpected ways. Seattle Symphony plays the classics and puts adventurous twists on famous soundtracks. Museums, galleries, and public parks shine the spotlight on treasured artifacts as well as avant-garde modern art. 

New census data shows Seattle notched another year of impressive population gains in 2017. As a result, Seattle is now this decade’s fastest growing big city with a population increase of 18.7 percent, or 114,000 people, since 2010. For more information, visit: https://www.visitseattle.org/.

Characteristics required of candidates for this position include:
  • Professional degree in Architecture.
  • Registration / licensure as an architect, with the ability to obtain a Washington State license within a year of the starting date.
  • Minimum of ten years of experience in architecture and campus or urban planning, either in a major research university or similarly complex organization in a campus-like context, including design oversight and/or engagement with multiple major capital projects in a similarly complex built and natural physical landscape, and in a similarly complex decision-making and organizational context in a position of managerial oversight, and increasing authority and impact.
  • Recognition as an industry leader in the planning and design industries.
  • Excellent oral, written, and presentation communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain productive relationships with a diverse range of colleagues, supervisors, and staff with diverse expertise wide-ranging roles within the organizational structure.
  • Strong ability to assess program and design challenges and produce and nurture effective solutions in large work-group settings.
  • Mentorship experience.
Characteristics desired of candidates for this position include:
  • Advanced professional degree so that the undergraduate and graduate degrees in combination provide relevant formal training in architectural design, urban and/or campus planning, design management, project delivery, landscape architecture, and ecological services.
  • Fifteen or more years of increasingly responsible experience in overseeing campus / urban planning and architectural design for a setting in which there is a complete integration of the natural and built environment in that architecture and landscape architecture interact as equally important and valued components of the campus as it is experience by students, faculty, staff, and visitors.
  • Design and planning experience in a staff position in higher education.
  • Demonstrated success in architectural design development, integrated and sustainable design processes, innovative delivery mechanisms (design/build, integrated project design, and hybrids), total cost of ownership, management of historic and cultural resources, and major capital project management, including construction administration.
  • Familiarity with LEED and/or other building/site sustainability measuring systems.
Conditions of Employment:
  • Participate in meetings / events outside the normal 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday-Friday workweek.
  • Travel within and among three UW campuses in Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma, WA, and other travel associated with relevant research and professional development.

Search Consultant: Joe Wargo

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