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The Legacy of Bassetti Architects’ Founder Lives on with Digital Documents

Every project that renowned Seattle-based architect Fred Bassetti was involved with bears his signature holistic approach: each project considers not only how it affects the space but also the people and environment.

Although he passed away in 2013, his legacy lives on through iconic landmarks, such as Pike Place Sanitary Public Market and Seattle Municipal Tower, and the conscientious work that Bassetti Architects continues to do. Since Bassetti first founded the firm in 1947, its projects have ranged from providing enduring and functional buildings for public and non-profit agencies to the historic preservation of K–12 schools, university buildings, and churches.

Bassetti’s legacy will also live on at the University of Washington Libraries, which have agreed to accept all of the architecture firm’s drawings, dating back to 1945. Within the year, they will be ensconced in the university’s Special Collections archive.

The opportunity to donate the materials would not have been possible had Bassetti not recently embarked on a major effort to bring every single hard copy out of storage and into the digital world.

Overwhelming Overhaul

The process began when Sarah McCall, Information Resources Manager, joined Bassetti Architects in 2014. She immediately became aware of the difficulties involved with managing tens of thousands of pages of architectural documents that were kept in off-site facilities.

“There were so many issues, but the most glaring were inefficient document access and exorbitant storage costs,” explained McCall.

While the decision to go digital was logical, the physical act of removing documents and scanning them was completely overwhelming. So McCall turned to ARC Document Solutions, Bassetti’s long-time primary printing partner, which offers a cloud-based Archiving & Information Management (AIM) solution.

“They scanned some samples and gave us a very reasonable projected cost. And while ARC is not the only vendor with an AIM solution, it is the only vendor that had thought through every single aspect of the digitization process, from archives removal to scanning and beyond,” added McCall.

Easier Access Eases Stress

With the scanning completed, ARC has moved on to the next phase of the project. This will focus on indexing, labeling, and cross-referencing every document to enable exceedingly easy access.

“Instead of searching through tubes of drawings—which can take days—and worrying that we’re looking for a document that’s not even there, now we’ll be able to know precisely what we have. And we’ll be able to call it up in minutes,” said McCall.

ARC accomplishes all this through SKYSITE InfoLink, an app technology designed for the architecture, engineering, and construction industries. InfoLink allows users to categorize files and put them in folders according to project names. What’s more, there’s a function that affords users the ability to share documents in real time.

“I can’t say enough for what ARC has done for us—their solutions and service are unparalleled,” an appreciative McCall said. “Best of all, they’re helping us to preserve Fred Bassetti’s legacy.”

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