Friday, April 13, 2007

The Eye Of The Techno-Storm

My morning started with a breakfast conversation with a man named Charlie who traveled to Seattle this week to judge a book contest. He’s a book publisher, so we discussed book design, layout, paper and other pleasantries. Sufficiently caffeinated, I met Greg on 1st avenue and we walked down to Seattle's Olympic Sculpture Park. We stopped in the café for a debrief of the previous day at Seattle University then made our way along the Z-shaped walkways of the park with a little guidance from John, a Seattle Art Museum docent.
We learned that the 9-acre park used to be inhabited by 82 million gallons of toxic waste (I think that's the correct amount). Not only is the park an example of urban design but community clean up. In addition, along the beach, the museum set several tons of the kind of rock that the baby Salmon from the Duwamish River now use as a safe place to rest on their way out to sea, another Seattle example of environmental living.

Next stop was the sales office for Mosler Condominiums, one of several eco-friendly, LEED certified condo buildings in the downtown area. Although the sales rep wasn’t much help and wasn’t too interested in the green aspects of the condos (other than the fact that they had a bigger pricetag), still we were able to learn about the green materials, energy-saving construction and appliances, hybrid plug-in stations, and a few other key features. What I found cool about the project was that it was the developer’s first building, and he’s a 5th generation Washingtonian. There's a newspaper article pinned on the wall of the Pensione titled "A City That Likes Itself." Pretty simple concept.

After probably the best pizza I’ve ever had at Serious Pie, Greg and I hopped in the car (for the first time of the trip—we could’ve taken public transportation, but I had a ferry to catch after our visit) and headed to DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, nestled between Nintendo and Microsoft. Greg described our visit pretty accurately when he said it was like going into the eye of the storm. This is a college that offers degrees in computer programming, real-time simulation, and animation. They have an interesting, mostly-male enrollment, with their first Bachelor’s candidates slated to graduate in April, several have already been hired at leading video game design firms, including Microsoft of course. It was great talking to Angela, our tour guide, about her background as a middle school language arts/social studies teacher and the story of her journey to DigiPen from the east coast. But schools 2.0 and the video game industry are two worlds that have yet to collide, even though both of us can imagine the possibilities. I’m going to keep in touch with them and see what happens in the future.

No comments: