Miller Hull worked with the Seattle Department of Parks & Recreation and Seattle Public Libraries on a joint venture project in the Northgate neighborhood of Seattle.
The 3.5 acre site for the new civic center is across 5th Avenue from the Northgate Shopping Center. The east side of the property is adjacent to a residential neighborhood and the Thornton Creek watershed park. This project creates a pedestrian link between the hardscape retail development, and the wooded, residential community it serves.
Consisting of a 20,000 s.f. community center, a 10,000 sf library, and a civic green, shared design elements, create a sense of a larger, civic development: a modern town center for the community. The central plaza links both the Library and Community Center, and forms an entry for both. The new center gives the neighborhood more than just an entrance on the street: it creates a place between buildings for people to congregate, for activities to take place. Multiple pedestrian entrances to the site allow the project to act more as a node of activity, (both a thoroughfare and a destination) rather than a one-stop destination.
The design language consists of solid, brick-clad forms contrasted against soaring roof planes with glazing and skeletal steel forms below. Windows at street level are plentiful in order to convey both a storefront (retail) appearance, and to allow the community to see the activity within the buildings.