Save Weyerhaeuser campus!

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Within eyesight of drivers on I-5 in Federal Way, Washington, a celebrated exemplar of modernist landscape architecture and building design peeks out from a forest of evergreens. Like a skyscraper turned on its side, the building appears to be a low concrete bridge stretching across the landscape. The long horizontal tiers of its five floors are draped in ivy and overlook a pond and a meadow. It’s surrounded by lush gardens of wildflowers, and threaded through with walking trails that disappear into the maples and pine trees beyond.

This verdant tableau could soon be joined by 1.5 million square feet of warehouses, serviced by upwards of 800 trucks a day. It’s a proposition that’s spurred a campaign of opposition from some of the biggest names in landscape architecture, including the project’s original designer.

The site, about 25 miles south of Seattle, is the former corporate headquarters of the Weyerhaeuser timber company, a project built in the early 1970s that paved the way for environmentally conscious building in the corporate realm. The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF), a nonprofit focused on the stewardship of landscape heritage, has deemed the campus a nationally significant space worthy of being recognized as a National Historic Landmark.

The organization has also labeled the site at risk of being irreparably damaged by the proposed warehouse development, and began collecting letters opposing the development, written to local and federal officials by prominent scholars and designers, including Peter Walker, the landscape architect of the campus who more recently did the landscape design for the 9/11 Memorial. “No other project in modern environmental design has achieved such a high level of integrated building and biological setting,” Walker writes in his letter.

Please save Weyerhaeuser campus! It’s the last good thing in federal way.

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