Imaginative response to urban density
Some 70,000 new housing units are forecast to come online within Seattle city limits over the next 20 years. As public open space disappears under urban development pressure, newly developed housing sites become an important part of the changing public realm. For this redevelopment of a block in Seattle’s emerging South Lake Union neighborhood, we teamed with Runberg Architecture Group to incorporate apartments, a new Glazer’s Camera showroom and small neighborhood cafe-bar on a block identified as a pedestrian-oriented residential zone.
From the start, the exterior public space formed by the building was at the heart of our approach. Geological forms were studied as inspiration to shape the building’s bulk around a generous neighborhood green space providing on-site storm water infrastructure. An elevated public walkway ‘stoop’ traverses a large bio-retention rain garden through a grove of trees, while the eight-story concrete building recedes. Conceptually, the building forms the backdrop for a green pocket similar to the way the Cascade Mountains rise behind green foothills. Inside, a two story lobby features amenities like family table and lounge designed to bring people together and nurture community. A ‘work yard’ fronting the alley provides a covered courtyard where residents can clean outdoor gear or find a kayak to roll down to Lake Union. On the roof, a sunset deck with terraced wood seating frames western views to the Space Needle and beyond.
This building demonstrates the innovations in palette, site organization and landscape possible that give something back to its urban neighborhood and provide a uniquely rewarding multi-family experience.