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Friday, January 4, 2013

The Grave of Dorothy Bullitt

Posted by on Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 10:54 AM

I wrote about this new and potentially revolutionary building, the Bullit Center, in the current A&P:

  • ME

If all works out, the Bullitt Center, which fully opens in April, will be like a forest. The words Denis Hayes, the head of the Bullitt Foundation, said to me during a visit of the building:
It does not look at all like a douglas-fir forest but it is like a douglas-fir forest. The impact it has on this site is pretty much the same as a douglas-fir forest had on this site 200 years ago. The douglas-fir got all of its energy from the sun through photosynthesis, it gets its energy from the sun through photovoltaics. The forest supported a complex ecosystem; there’s a complex ecosystem in the building. The forest got water and disposed it in the ground, this building does the same for the most part. It disposes most of its water not in the bay but in the ground.

Showing that developers are not immune to hate, one who shall remain unnamed, and who is also very much into the green thing, told me this during a party for some architectural event:

The Bullitt building? If Dorothy only knew what they were doing with her money, she would turn in her grave.
Dorothy Stimson Bullitt? She, according Wikipedia, "was a radio and television pioneer who founded King Broadcasting Company, a major owner of broadcast stations in Seattle... and the first woman in the United States to buy and manage a television station." Dorothy established the Bullitt Foundation in 1952. My opinion? Turning in your grave is not always a bad thing.


Comments (13) RSS

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Max Solomon 1
The comment probably referred to the sainted Dorothy's assumed response the expense of the place. As a Living Building (tm), it will cost approx. $500/sf.

I'm guessing, but I bet I'm not far off.

The bleeding edge is the leading edge.
Posted by Max Solomon on January 4, 2013 at 12:10 PM · Report this
What a bonkers comment from that other developer. Dorothy raised her children to be independent minded - she'd be delighted at the unwavering decision they made to support this bold project. @1, those costs are taken on gladly and mindfully in order for this to be a pilot project that will enable the technologies to be tried and tested, their costs reduced for those who follow.

Investing in a legacy that will make it easier for the next generations to be more environmentally sound? Dorothy would very much approve.
Posted by gloomy gus on January 4, 2013 at 12:22 PM · Report this
rob! 3
Charles, could you please have the graphics people at the Stranger fix the "click to enlarge" image in your article. I'm guessing you set it up yourself because the link leads to a 1 x 1 pixel nothing, and just enlarging the visible graphic leaves the text too annoyingly blurred to attempt reading. Thanks.
Posted by rob! on January 4, 2013 at 12:30 PM · Report this
$500/sf and if you use a water fountain you'll be drinking recycled urine. Yum.
Posted by Mister G on January 4, 2013 at 12:37 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 5
@4: no you won't. the water in drinking fountains will be treated, potable rainwater. the urine is probably going to be separated from the "solids", treated, and the resulting water infitrated into the soils. might get some useful fertilizer out of the deal, too.

but it will still be expensive to build and maintain, and that's how i interpreted the comment charles quoted, @2.
Posted by Max Solomon on January 4, 2013 at 12:49 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 6
I was involved in the solar interconnection for this building, and was lucky enough to get a tour. It's really a fascinating place.

As for Mrs. Bullitt, I didn't know her, but I worked with her daughters on several projects. They are very gracious, very intelligent women. I think their mother would be pleased.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on January 4, 2013 at 12:59 PM · Report this
Solar, now there's a joke. Seattle gets one-third the solar radiation that the Southwest gets. Even with the current seven- to eight-fold subsidy on the residential side, it still takes 10 years to pay back the investment, and then the yield is just paltry.

I don't know what the commercial subsidy structure is in Seattle, but we can be sure of is that the Bullit building will generate well under 10% of its power from solar, regardless of what any of the bozos tell the public.

And before you start prattling on about Germany and solar, be sure to look at the real numbers before trying to pass along the bogus claim that they're generating half their electricity that way.

As for the water fountains, if I worked at Bullit I'd be bringing bottled water. And if I had to do their landscaping, I'd be wearing a mask.
Posted by Mister G on January 4, 2013 at 1:07 PM · Report this
venomlash 8
Turning in her grave, eh? Let's coil some wire and generate clean energy from her post-mortem gyration!
Posted by venomlash on January 4, 2013 at 1:32 PM · Report this
@5, gotcha. I was just being sure nobody was left with the impression Dorothy was averse to investing very large amounts in worthwhile projects. Her entire legacy proves otherwise, doesn't it?
Posted by gloomy gus on January 4, 2013 at 2:30 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 10
Oh Mister G, how you do prattle on....
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on January 4, 2013 at 3:48 PM · Report this
Yes, #10, I do. And we know that if I had the right "progressive" angle, you'd lap it up like a thirsty dog.
Posted by Mister G on January 4, 2013 at 5:02 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 12
"We" know no such thing, Mr. G. But if that's the sort of story you need to tell yourself to make you feel a little less lonely in this world, by all means don't mind me.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on January 4, 2013 at 9:36 PM · Report this
Mr. G, where are you getting your "real numbers?"
Posted by fgiles on January 19, 2013 at 7:48 AM · Report this

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