This year’s I Look Up Film Challenge theme was “Blueprint for Better,” spotlighting how architecture can positively impact a community. With this theme in mind, we felt Bates’ new Advanced Technology Center centrally located in the Hilltop neighborhood was a fitting story to be told. At McGranahan we value equitable and just access to higher education. We wanted to share this unique story so that more people in the Hilltop community recognize the Advanced Technology Center as a resource for higher education.
It was important to us that Hilltop’s history be told and represented by someone who grew up in or around the neighborhood. In this case, Will Ragin, a student of Bates, shared his experiences growing up in South Tacoma and later living in Hilltop. We wanted to craft a story that felt connected to the people and the culture of the neighborhood. By reaching out to various community organizations, students, and faculty, we believe we were able to tell this story authentically.
Gentrification was a major point of discussion during the making of this film. What we discovered through our outreach within the Hilltop community was that, in the two years since its doors have opened, the new Advanced Technology Center has become a hub for students, community organizations, and hilltop residents to have direct access to higher education. What is special about Bates, this building, and this story, is that every player involved is working diligently to keep the culture and the residents of Hilltop intact by providing the technological and educational resources necessary to thrive.
Our goal is to share this story with as many people as we can. By doing so, we hope to inspire the hilltop community by spotlighting this valuable resource that’s right down the street. If you would like to participate in sharing this story, watch our video and vote. If it wins, Bates and the Hilltop community will be featured at the 2017 Architecture and Film Festival in New York City.