We’ll admit to some misty feelings about ports, especially when it comes to the waterfront. It’s something about the travel and trade that ports represent — the far-flung locations reached by slow boats, the fishing and the ferries, the cool marine air and the tidy red and white Coast Guard buildings … It all adds up to an uncommon sense of connection to both the past and the future, and that puts us in a good mood.
More practically speaking, ports foster economic vitality and deliver projects that everyone has access to. This strong community purpose is one of the key reasons RMC focuses on port development, maritime and uplands projects alike. It’s often a needle-threading exercise, finding just the right openings into which competing demands — jobs, public access, views, environmental protection, building performance — can be slipped and stitched together in a dynamic expression of place.
Our experience tells us that process makes perfect: skillful leadership and listening, shared goals and project principles, real community engagement, painstaking synthesis and confident design provide ample returns for both public and private audiences. Here’s a roundup of what RMC has in process at a port near you:
- Design is just getting started for Fishermen’s Pavilion near Zuanich Park at Squalicum Harbor. The 12,000 square-foot structure will be a dual-use facility, providing covered work space for commercial fishers during the winter months and event space during the summer.
- Construction begins this month on a new webhouse in Blaine harbor, a 20,500 square-foot building with storage lockers and work spaces for the commercial fishing fleet.
- Also kicking off this month, RMC is part of a consultant team led by Anchor QEA on the Whatcom Waterway Phase 2 project, which is looking at the old ASB pond in connection with the marine-trades district on the uplands, and how to make the most of the lagoon in the context of an overall planning strategy.
- A 25,000 square foot event center and office complex is in schematic design for the Port of Anacortes, while work continues with the Port of Skagit on the SWIFT Center, a revitalization of the former Northern State Hospital into the Sedro Wooley Innovation for Tomorrow campus. The project honors the historic character of the campus, re-using some structures and also building new ones to support research, manufacturing and education. RMC is currently working to restore and provide seismic upgrades to the property’s “crown jewel,” the historic Assembly Hall, built in 1920s.
- And last but in no way least, RMC has been part of the visioning process for the promising Millworks project, inspired brainchild of the Whatcom Community Foundation. With a local food hub at its core, the mixed-use development will also include workforce housing, event and office space and childcare on the site of the former lignin building in Bellingham’s nascent Waterfront District. The people at Cascadia Weekly really like this project. We concur.