AIA Seattle Announces 2018 Travel Scholarship Recipient

Congratulations to Laura Bartunek Assoc. AIA, the 2018 recipient of AIA Seattle's Emerging Professionals Travel Scholarship for her proposal, "Because It Rains."

Because it Rains – Most mornings, we Seattleites armor ourselves in a Gortex-led battle against the elements. We track showers like infantry in an endless array of Doppler readings and forecasts. As designers, we are taught to continue the fight and protect our ideas against water in all its forms. We learn to track the flow of rain across our surfaces. We stitch, tape, seal, caulk and screen our buildings, perfecting the recipes of our skins to inhibit even the slightest trace of precipitation. And in so doing, our spaces resist and endure. But in our enthusiasm to protect, have we missed something? What if our fundamental understanding of water was different? What if our common sense was reversed and water was friend, not foe? What would our buildings – our cities – look like?

As this year’s recipient of AIA Seattle’s Emerging Professionals Travel Scholarship, Laura will explore how designers have worked with water, rather than against it, examining the potential of rain within design. She will travel to Florida, Iceland, New Orleans, London, North Bend, Venice and New Mexico to document a series of projects that have found inspiration from some unique aspect of water. She will speak with meteorologists and cultural historians of weather, exploring rain as both an ecological and cultural phenomenon. Laura will catalog this journey of rain through a series of illustrations and stories, with the ultimate goal of challenging and inspiring how we think about weather.


Laura Bartunek Assoc. AIA
is an Associate at Olson Kundig, where she first joined the firm as an intern in 2011. She is known for her interest in imaginative and exploratory architecture, which has informed her work on such cultural projects as Zooraji, a rooftop garden located above a nine-story department store in Daegu, South Korea. This project also reflects Laura’s continued interest in landscape – both real and imagined, micro and macro – as a point of departure for design investigations. She is currently working on the design of Checkmate Winery, a winery renovation in British Columbia by Olson Kundig Principal/Owner Tom Kundig. This coming spring Laura will also be co-teaching the studio ‘Design Dialogues’ at the University of Washington with Olson Kundig Principals Edward Lalonde and Mark Olthoff, and UW Associate Professor and Chair Brian McLaren. This collaboration between the University of Washington Architecture School and Olson Kundig will seek to unearth the inherent stories of place as a departure point for design.

Laura will be recognized, along with our 2018 Fellows and Honorees, at the President’s Dinner hosted by AIA Seattle on Saturday, June 30.

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