Miller Hull

1310 East Union Condominiums

Seattle, WA
The building solution is simple:  a seven-story steel-frame glass box flanked by solid party walls. 
Completion 2001


The project occupies a very small, 40 foot by 80 foot, urban site on Seattle’s Capitol Hill.  Bounded by buildings on three sides, the architects maximized the structure’s height by building to the 65 foot zoning limit, taking advantage of additional natural light and views of the city beyond.  The relatively flat site accommodates eight loft-style condominium units plus street level commercial leased space and parking for eight cars.  Parking is provided in a stacked configuration using European parking lifts.  The residential floors contain two units each varying in size from 700 square-feet to 1600 square-feet.  The top two floors each contain side by side two-story condominiums with west facing balconies, mezzanines and shared access to a private rooftop garden.

The steel structure conveys a sense of lightness and transparency.  Given the small site with virtually no lay-down area, the steel structure provided the contractor with a rapid erection sequence.  It also facilitated off-site fabrication of many structural elements.  The primary gravity load system was coated with fire retardant intumescent paint where the diagonal bracing and mezzanine structure is exposed steel.

The north and south facades, fully glazed floor to ceiling, maximize light transmission and preserve the connection to the outdoors – vital to Seattle residents.  Glass and aluminum-frame garage doors roll up converting the living and dining spaces to exterior balconies.  Plans of the loft-style units are completely open with only the bathrooms enclosed.  The units on floors two through four run front to back, wrapping around a compact core housing an elevator, stair and shafts.  These units are provided south light and decks overlooking the street. The fifth floor units have private roof terraces off the mezzanine level and a spiral stair to an additional roof deck.  A public roof deck is also provided for use by all residents of the building. Interior materials include: concrete floors, exposed steel structural elements, steel railings, steel plate baseboards and modular metal kitchen casework supporting butcher-block counters.  All units are heated with radiant slabs.

The building is meant to invest an image of structural architecture, conveying a sense of economy, efficiency, discipline and order, essential characteristics of urban loft living.