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News: Project Updates

New York Times: Construction That Focuses on Health of Residents

03.14.2013 Mithun, Project Updates,

Mithun’s focus on health in the redevelopment master plan and urban design for the Denver Housing Authority’s (DHA) Mariposa redevelopment was recently featured in an article published by the New York Times. The plan is spearheading the movement for “design for health” and evidence-based design by incorporating a Health Impact Assessment (HIA), design strategies, and implementation recommendations that improve resident health through the neighborhood redevelopment.

In the article, Erin Christensen, Associate Principal, points to Mithun’s work on the High Point Community in Seattle as a groundbreaking early example of how design strategies can be linked to health. Because the community suffered from a high-rate of asthma, the team designed 60 Breathe-Easy™ homes that have proven through longitudinal studies to increase resident’s symptom-free days by 61% and reduce emergency room visits by 67%:

“As designers, that was the first that we had really seen a direct relationship shown between the built environment and the health of residents,” said Christensen.

The lessons learned at High Point informed green building standards including the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria. The Mariposa redevelopment takes healthy design beyond the home and considers all aspects of physical, mental, and community well-being in a more comprehensive and holistic approach to neighborhood planning. By integrating a health impact assessment and community engagement early on, the team was able to identify what the community needed most to support healthy lifestyles. Using a public health lens, the best evidence available, and peer review, responsive design and programmatic strategies were incorporated into the project.

In 2012, Mithun helped develop the Mariposa Healthy Living Initiative for DHA to integrate health into every aspect of design, construction, and implementation of the Mariposa development. The Initiative launches campaigns and action plans for DHA to improve specific health goals, including the creation of the Mariposa Healthy Living Toolkit, an implementation guide for practitioners to incorporate health into neighborhood design, redevelopment, and construction.

Mithun was responsible for recommendations to incorporate art in the development to help support diversity and build social cohesion (one of the health determinants). This mural is featured on the recently completed 100-unit Tapiz building, designed by Brad Buchanan, RNL. The mural was designed by a local artist who worked with kids in the neighborhood.

Continue reading the New York Times article about Mithun’s effort to design for health at


Mariposa Redevelopment Honored with EPA National Achievement Award

03.06.2013 Mithun, Awards, Project Updates,

Mariposa, the redevelopment of Denver Housing Authority’s South Lincoln Housing, was chosen as one of four national winners of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2012 National Awards for Smart Growth Achievement in the category of Equitable Development. Mithun’s master plan for Mariposa was cited as an innovative model for its outreach and “community-driven design,” holistic approach to improve resident health, and achievements in sustainable design. The Mariposa transit-oriented, affordable housing project replaces inefficient housing with a vibrant, environmentally and economically sustainable, mixed-income community that revitalizes downtown Denver.

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Construction Begins on Seattle Aquarium’s Harbor Seal Exhibit

10.30.2012 Mithun, Press Releases, Project Updates,

The Seattle Aquarium has begun construction on the new indoor/outdoor harbor seal exhibit. Mithun’s design improves visibility by removing the chain link around the existing exhibit and replacing it with a glass enclosure that allows visitors to view the animals face-to-face in their natural environment. The project will include a deeper, expanded pool and seating for 100 visitors.

To learn more about the new harbor seal exhibit and how Seattle Aquarium is working to protect wildlife during construction, visit

Chatham University Breaks Ground on Eden Hall Campus

10.16.2012 Mithun, Press Releases, Project Updates,

Construction has begun on the $40 million initial phase of Chatham University’s Eden Hall Campus. The 388-acre site will be the new home of the School of Sustainability and the Environment. Mithun designed the first phase including a field lab, classrooms, dining hall, café, outdoor amphitheater, mosaic-style garden and on-site wastewater treatment system. Two 150-beds residence halls are scheduled for completion in 2015. All buildings on campus are being designed to meet net-zero energy standards with individual buildings slated for LEED Platinum, Living Building or Passive House certifications. The completed campus targets an average Energy Use Index (EUI) of 20 and includes many locally-sourced materials. The central classroom building will be Living Building Certified as well as net-zero energy, water and waste. During the groundbreaking ceremony last week, Mithun President, David Goldberg, AIA, spoke about our involvement in the project:

“The Eden Hall Campus is a tremendous example of innovation in education, sustainability, and community building. On behalf of the entire design and construction team … we are both humbled and honored at the opportunity to help these great leaders realize their vision for this world class campus.”

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Developer Selected for Yesler Terrace Parcel A

10.10.2012 Mithun, Press Releases, Project Updates,

The Seattle Housing Authority has selected Gracorp Capital Advisors as developer for the Yesler Terrace Parcel A project. This part of the Yesler Terrace redevelopment – a public housing project that will be revitalized into a transit-oriented, mixed-use, mixed-income community that is estimated to cost $2 billion – will include a 116,000 square foot building with 120 affordable apartments on six stories with roughly 3,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor. Mithun is the project architect and Graham Construction will be the general contractor. Seattle Housing Authority is expected to select a master developer for the overall Yesler Terrace project by spring 2013.

To read more about the Yesler Terrace project, visit*.

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Suquamish Museum Opens

10.10.2012 Mithun, Press Releases, Project Updates,

The $7.5 million Suquamish Museum on Port Madison Indian Reservation was introduced to the public. Nestled in the forest, the new museum includes performance and educational spaces, exhibit galleries and artifact storage, a gift shop that features Suquamish artists, and craft workspace to promote traditional activities such as wood carving and craft making. Mithun was the architect, landscape architect and interior designer for the 9,000 square foot facility. Chairman and former museum director, Leonard Forsman, recently discussed the importance of the museum in an article by the Kitsap Sun:

“For the tribe, the museum is a place for our heritage and culture and traditions to be preserved in order to inspire, encourage and nurture our cultural resurgence.”

Read the full article about the opening of the Suquamish Museum at


City of Renton Wins 2012 VISION 2040 Award

10.10.2012 Mithun, Press Releases, Project Updates,

The City of Renton has recently received a 2012 VISION 2040 Award by the Puget Sound Regional Council for the Sunset Area Community Revitalization plan. The plan to redevelop the Sunset Terrace public housing community is a blueprint coordinating and phasing public investments to generate the greatest public benefit, integrating elements including mixed-income housing redevelopment, roadway improvements and pedestrian facilities, and a district stormwater strategy. In 2009, Mithun completed the Community Investment Strategy (CIS) for the City of Renton, in partnership with the Renton Housing Authority.