Posts tagged with "Seattle":

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Amazon is building a homeless shelter in its downtown Seattle headquarters

Amazon is building a homeless shelter inside its downtown Seattle headquarters. Eight floors of an upcoming office building will be home to the Mary’s Place Family Center early next year and will be able to house up to 275 guests per night. The Seattle Times reported that the tech giant has been working on the homeless housing project with its longtime community partner, Mary’s Place, for two years. Over 63,000 square feet of space within one of Amazon’s new corporate office buildings at Seventh Avenue and Blanchard Street is being built out for the local nonprofit. Not only will it house sleeping spaces for homeless families, the facility will also include an industrial kitchen where meals will be prepared for guests and 10 other Mary’s Place shelters in Kings County. The new shelter will also feature a health and legal clinic, a rec room, a rooftop terrace, and a diversion shelter to help homeless families in transition. Two of its floors will house 30 rooms for unhoused families with children under treatment for serious medical illnesses. On the seventh floor of the building, there will be space for Amazon employees to continue their volunteer work through Mary’s Place by offering coding courses, resume workshops, and reading lessons to kids.  Amazon has said it’s committed to paying for the family center’s rent, as well as all maintenance, utilities, and security costs over the next 10 years. In an interview with the Seattle Times, an Amazon real estate executive said the space will belong to Mary’s Place for as long as needed, but the nonprofit will be responsible for all operations, programming, and staff salaries. Yearly costs are estimated to be about $2 million. Since it began construction on its massive campus in Seattle nearly a decade ago, Amazon has had to repeatedly battle with the local government for more space. Advocating on behalf of community organizations like Mary’s Place is one way the company has tried to smooth things over with Seattle locals (other than pouring $1.5 million into last week's City Council race on behalf of pro-business candidates). In 2017, Mary’s Place moved into the former Travelodge hotel building that Amazon bought for its future downtown expansion and in June, Amazon pledged to annually donate $8 million to fight homelessness and provide low-cost housing surrounding its campuses in both Seattle and Arlington, Virginia.  The building that houses Mary’s Place Family Center is on track to receive LEED Gold certification. An opening date for the facility has not been announced. 
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Seattle’s Brutalist Freeway Park is reviewed for National Register and approved for renovation

The gorgeously staggered concrete elements of Jim Ellis Freeway Park, one of the most significant architectural spaces in Seattle, are scattered across a thickly forested hill atop an intersection of Interstate 5 between the neighborhoods of Downtown Seattle and First Hill. Completed in 1976 by American landscape architect Lawrence Halprin and Bulgarian architect Angela Danadjieva, the 5.2-acre Freeway Park is one of only a small handful of Brutalist-designed parks in the world and is a commendable example of how parkland can be used to bridge communities that were previously divided by highway infrastructure.

Given its significance to the field of landscape architecture and the urban history of Seattle, Freeway Park was recently nominated for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The nomination was submitted shortly after a $10 million capital improvement project was announced to restore Freeway Park as part of an agreement made with the expansion of the nearby Convention Center. A total of $9,250,000 of the funds will be used for much-needed repairs and restoration, while the remaining $750,000 will go towards the further activation of the park as part of its management by the Freeway Park Association, a non-profit organization founded in 1993 to advocate and host events in the park.

A portion of the funds may go towards reintroducing the water feature to the park, which was discontinued in 1992 following an issue with water loss that was present since its construction. The renovation process is expected to begin next summer and be completed by December 2021.

The nomination was reviewed on October 25 by the Washington State Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and it was subsequently placed on the Washington Heritage Register in a unanimous vote. Its placement on the NRHP is still yet to be announced.

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Olson Kundig upgrades Seattle's Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture

The new Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture building opened its doors on Seattle’s University of Washington Campus on October 12, three years after the project was first announced. Designed by local architecture firm Olson Kundig using a $99 million budget, the 113,000-square-foot Burke Museum contains 66 percent more space for research, education, and storage, and features a series of airy exhibition spaces displaying a portion of its 16 million-object collection of fossils and Native American art, the majority of which was held in storage for much of the institution’s 130-year past. “We look forward to having a new building that serves as a gathering place for learning, research, and appreciation of cultures and the environment for generations to come,” said Burke Museum Executive Director Dr. Julie K. Stein. The new Burke was designed to reflect both the present conditions of the university and the Pacific Northwest character of the site, most notably with its distinctive Kebony-produced siding made of southern pine, a material that was once a common building material in the area. Additionally, a Pacific madrone tree that was once on the site was carefully removed to be later integrated back into the construction to minimize waste on the property. These and other gestures were initiated in keeping with the building’s goal of being accredited with LEED Gold certification. The building does, however, contain plenty of signature design gestures from the firm, including a large pivoting window wall in the museum’s expansive café. “We wanted to create a simple, beautiful, rational, and flexible building that will serve the Burke for hundreds of years,” said Tom Kundig, cofounder of Olson Kundig. “It is an inviting place not only for the public but also for the scientists, researchers, and curators of today and tomorrow.” While previous iterations of the museum were opaque and disjointed, the firm sought to make the institution’s new home transparent and united in its facilities. Labs and gallery spaces, for example, are separated by panes of glass to provide visitors with the opportunity to see roughly two-thirds of the items kept on storage shelves as well as “behind-the-scenes” paleontology. “I knew we had to do more than just build a bigger box with good air conditioning,” said Stein. “People’s reaction to going behind the scenes is magic. We had to do something to create that magic for everyone who comes to the Burke, not just the select few who get a behind-the-scenes tour.”
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ZGF and Arup integrate form and structure with steel knuckles in The Mark

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The Mark is a 750,000 SF, 48-story commercial office and hotel tower that's reshaping the Seattle skyline, and designed to preserve the historic Jacobean-style Rainier Club and the nation’s oldest Byzantine-style church next door. Utilizing a compact footprint at ground level, the tower subtly slopes over the site’s existing structures before tapering back through a precise system of steel “knuckles” and triangulated building planes.
  • Facade Manufacturers Supreme Steel Pohl Pilkington Viracon
  • Architect ZGF Architects
  • Facade Installer The Erection Company Harmon
  • Historical Preservation Architect Ron Wright & Associates
  • Fabricators Supreme Steel
  • Structural Engineer Arup USA (Tower), Coughlin Porter Lundeen (Sanctuary)
  • Location Seattle, Washington
  • Date of Completion 2018
  • Products Harmon UCW8000 Curtainwall Viracon VRE1-54 glazing Pohl Custom Panels & Steel
Preserving and incorporating the First United Methodist Church into the new development, the tower rises from the city block with a faceted form. At the tower’s base, a transparent entrance lobby and lower level facade integrates with The Sanctuary and The Rainier Club to provide an enclosed court between buildings. With 15,000 square feet available on The Mark's first floor, the floorplates needed to expand on subsequent levels to maximize leasing potential. Through a joint development agreement with The Rainier Club, ‘over-under’ property rights are utilized. It is Seattle's first tower with column-free floors and floor-to-ceiling windows—more per square foot than in any other building in the city. At the heart of the tower is a diagonal steel mega-brace system. The exposed braces zigzag up the tower’s facade and are embedded 11 inches into its reflective glazing. The intersections of the braces are called “the knuckles,” where brace members were initially bolted and finished with penetration welds. The knuckles are a result of the desire to stitch the building together along its corners, even though the design also mandated that the same corners be column-free. Every knuckle had to occur at a floor level, so that forces from braces on two orthogonal faces could be resolved into the floor structure. The structural system shifts the load away from the core and to the exterior walls, allowing for a smaller core and creating more rentable floor space. ZGF and Arup worked with steel fabricator Supreme Steel to create the knuckles with a Halfen anchoring system for the building’s unitized panels. Supreme Steel developed a detailed three-dimensional model showing all of the welds and plates. The mega-brace structural technology enveloping The Mark is a first for towers in high-seismic regions. The design optimizes building height, configuration and floor plate efficiency while responding to the owner’s vision for an iconic addition to downtown Seattle’s skyline. Allyn Stellmacher, a partner at ZGF Architects, talked about what it meant to rethink tall buildings in the city. “Our client, Kevin Daniels, envisioned a project that could reset expectations for high-rises in Seattle. Alongside our project partners, it was gratifying to help make our mark on the skyline.” ZGF associate Henry Zimmerman and Arup associate Bryce Tanner will be presenting The Mark on the panel"Thinking Outside the Box: Detailing and Fabrication Considerations for Advanced Building Geometries," at The Architect's Newspaper's upcoming Facades+ Seattle conference on December 6.
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Seattle Asian Art Museum will reopen in February after a two year expansion

The Seattle Asian Art Museum will reopen to the public in February 2020 after a two-year, $56 million renovation and expansion project. The museum, which has not undergone any major work since it was first built in 1933, is in the midst of an extensive renovation by LMN Architects to both secure the building’s aging structure and reopen the facilities as a modernized exhibition space. The Asian Art Museum will reopen with a new debut, Boundless: Stories of Asian Art, and the special exhibition Be/longing: Contemporary Asian Art. Two full days of free events will also accompany the shows on February 8 and 9, 2020, with tickets available starting in December. The museum is renowned for housing one of the most prominent collections of Asian art outside the continent itself. Its galleries display work spanning the 1st to 21st century and hailing from China, Japan, Korea, India, the Himalayas, and Southeast Asia. The Asian Art Museum is in Volunteer Park and makes up one-third of the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), and has occupied its art deco home since 1994. Prior to that, the 1930s-era building functioned as the original location of SAM until its move downtown.  In addition to preserving the historic sandstone facade, landscaping, and fountains, the museum has significantly expanded its gallery and programing facilities. The expansion includes a new 2,600-square-foot gallery as well as new education, conservation, and community spaces on the building's east side. The existing Fuller Garden Court, the museum's central point, will be renovated and connected to a new park-facing lobby. The galleries will also receive an upgraded lighting system that mimics natural daylight.  Taking advantage of its location, the glass-enclosed Park Lobby on the east side of the museum will overlook Olmsted’s Volunteer Park. Reinforcing the building’s relationship to the park was one of the museum’s major goals. “The design represents the seamless integration of the building’s spectacular site," said LMN in a statement, "with the museum’s mission for the 21st century: to showcase Asian art in conjunction with contemporary educational and conservation spaces."  As one of only a handful of museums specializing in Asian art in the U.S., the expanded public programming, exhibition, and conservation capabilities of the museum will be a huge cultural asset to the city. “With the completion of this project, we unveil new spaces to connect the museum’s extraordinary collection of Asian art to our lives and experiences,” said Amada Cruz, Illsley Ball Nordstrom director and CEO of SAM, in a press statement. 
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Microsoft chips in for major affordable housing strategy around Seattle

Like many American cities with more than half a million residents, Seattle is in a housing crisis. The growth of local tech companies, including Microsoft, Amazon, and Expedia Group, is reported to have increased Seattle’s population of higher-income residents by 16 percent, making the task of finding affordable housing more difficult for the city’s working class. It was announced on September 26 that Microsoft, King County, and the King County Housing Authority (KCHA) will work together to create affordable housing for more than 3,000 residents. Together, they will provide more than $245 million to purchase five apartment complexes in Kirkland, one in Bellevue, and one in Federal Way. These complexes across the three King County cities were chosen for their proximity to transit hubs and burgeoning real estate markets, which would have likely caused significant rent increases in the targeted buildings if they had not been slated for affordable housing. “This is a long-term effort to stabilize rents in communities where rents are rapidly rising,” said Dan Watson, deputy executive director of the King County Housing Authority, “and fully expect to continue over the next 10 to 15 years.” Watson also confirmed that after the complexes are purchased, their monthly rents could be as much as $500 below similar developments in their respective neighborhoods. To accrue the necessary funds for the project, Microsoft provided a loan to the KCHA for $60 million, King County provided an additional $20 million, and the KCHA itself chipped in $140 million in bonds. Jane Broom, the senior director of Microsoft Philanthropies, announced that its involvement in the collaboration is one part of a $500 million strategy initiated by the company earlier this year to respond to the myriad of challenges facing Seattle’s middle class (defined as households earning between $60,000 and $120,000 a year). "We are committed to maintaining and bolstering strong, vibrant communities here in the greater Puget Sound region," said Broom. "Thriving communities include safe, reliable and affordable housing options for people at all income levels. To do this, we all need to come together to not only build more housing options, but also to preserve what already exists." The remaining $440 million allocated by Microsoft is planned to eventually go towards the construction of additional affordable housing and homeless services.
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Seattle Architecture Foundation will open 22nd Annual Architectural Model Exhibit

The Seattle Architecture Foundation is set to open Symbiosis, the 22nd edition of its Annual Architectural Model Exhibit next month. Curated in the foundation’s on-site gallery, Symbiosis will bring together the work of 25 local architects and designers from September 12 through November 23 and will be free to the public. As has been the case for over two decades, participants in the exhibition will have the unique opportunity to connect with visitors through models, drawings, renderings, videos, and accompanying text.

This year, several innovative design practices in the area, including NBBJ, Olson Kundig, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Perkins + Will, LMN Architects, and Wittman Estes Architecture + Landscape, have been asked to contribute work based on a central theme. According to the foundation’s website, Symbiosis “celebrates mutually beneficial relationships and the positive products and constructive outcomes of interdependence.” An opening reception with local designers and architects will be held on September 11 and is open to paying members of the public.

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LMN is bridging the gaps between Washington communities

Two new bridges designed by Seattle-based LMN Architects are giving back to the Washington state communities of Spokane and Tukwila. The simple, soaring white structures span automobiles and railways bridge gaps between neighborhoods, reclaiming the pedestrian experience in both the historically underserved region of the Sprague and along the bucolic Green River trail.  The Tukwila Urban Center Bridge was a key component of the city’s 20-year expansion plan. The 220-foot-long bridge is located at a major regional crossroads just outside of Seattle that's poised for expansion. The project was conceptualized with boldness in mind, resulting in a statement piece accentuated by built-in LED lighting that, when activated, climbs up the cables to offer a “subtle web effect” and flashes a colorful light show that plays off the white metallic elements.  Its form was also inspired by the region’s history, taking cues from Pacific Northwest's tribal canoes, and designed with sensitivity to the river’s large migratory salmon population. Metal grills on either side of the bridge add structural support while also allowing for sunlight to permeate down to the water, keeping it warm and fast-moving for the river life. All the while, the highly visible 45-foot-high bowstring arch acts as a local landmark for the people of Tukwila to easily navigate between the commercial western bank of the city and the more residential east side, previously unnavigable to pedestrians and cyclists. The overall effect, according to LMN, is “Simplicity, clarity, and lightness.”  The University District Gateway Bridge was unveiled side-by-side, with its prominent 120-foot-tall arch rising sharply into the Spokane skyline and visible for miles around the low neighborhoods of the University District and the emerging South University area. The Gateway Bridge is anchored by organically sloping ramps and greenery, while stair options allow cyclists and pedestrians to safely cross a route formerly bisected by a BNSF freight rail and an arterial highway,  The 458-foot-long bridge seems to grow harmoniously out of the landscape on either side of the thoroughfare, opening new opportunities for economic and social growth for both neighborhoods: expanded access to housing and retail for the University and its students, and long-awaited economic sparks for South residents.  “One of the great things about public infrastructure projects is that they benefit the entire public,” said LMN principal Howard Fitzpatrick in a statement. “The Gateway Bridge will make a real difference in the lives of many people in Spokane, and the enthusiastic public reception of the project has been very rewarding for the design team.” While both bridges only span a few hundred feet each, their dimensions are less important than the impact on the communities they connect and carefree transport. While industry and vehicles have a long and well-recorded history of interrupting the traditional human-scaled urban fabric of 21st-century cities, these simple structures are small incisions with a goal for lasting impact. 
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Kengo Kuma will build off of a historic facade in Seattle

Kengo Kuma & Associates has gone to great lengths to preserve and highlight a century-old Gothic Revival building in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood, proposing a mixed-use skyscraper that accentuates the ornate frontage of the five-story structure. According to designs submitted to the city for review earlier this year, the 42-story tower will fill most of the lot on the corner of Second Avenue and Virginia Street, receding slightly from the street to allow the facade of the 104-year-old Bebb & Gould’s Terminal Sales Annex building to protrude. Certain elements in the design of the skyscraper itself will also make reference to Seattle’s storied gothic and art deco architectural heritage.

Kuma’s initial designs for the tower, which were produced in collaboration with Ankrom Moisan Architects and the landscape architecture firm Berger Partnership for developer Pacific Virginia, indicate that the majority of the building’s floor space will be dedicated to condominiums. A coworking space and a hotel will occupy most of the first fifteen floors, while the first floor will house several lobbies and a restaurant. Much of the interior of the Terminal Sales Annex will be converted into amenity spaces for the hotel, which will accommodate the historic building’s existing floor plates.

The telescoping mass of the skyscraper is reminiscent of Seattle’s art deco traditions and aligns with the form of the Terminal Sales Annex below. In order to avoid completely overwhelming the landmarked structure in scale, the lowest massing on the Second Avenue frontage is only four stories tall. The setbacks will also create a small plaza at the corner of Second and Virginia, which could be used for seating and greenery. Renderings show sand-colored bands extending upwards on the facade of Kuma’s tower, likely an attempt to mimic the vertical lines and stonework on the Terminal Sales Annex.

While further details on the appearance of the skyscraper and the schedule for its construction have not been released, it seems certain that Seattle will be witnessing a highly involved form of facadism. In lieu of dismantling the interior of the Terminal Sales Annex or engulfing its street frontage in a wall of glass and steel, Kuma & Associates and its collaborators have created something that balances the needs of their client with respect for the historic significance and vulnerability of the site.

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Amazon will build its tallest office tower ever in Bellevue, Washington

It looks like Amazon is really digging into the whole returning-to-its-roots-thing by adding scores of new jobs to the city Jeff Bezos started the company in 25 years ago. With an incoming 600-foot-tall skyscraper slated to host thousands of employees in Bellevue, Washington, the Seattle-adjacent city will soon become home to one of the largest offices towers in the company's history.  The Seattle Times reported that the giant online retailer and its main architect, NBBJ, recently filed a pre-application for Bellevue 600, a 43-story, one-million-square-foot office tower that could house up to 4,200 employees. Located just 10 miles east from its downtown Seattle headquarters—a mere hop across Lake Washington, the proposed project seems to cement Amazon’s expanding footprint in Bellevue. It already owns a 354,000-square-foot building called Centre 425, which it bought in 2017 and now accommodates 500 positions. It’s also currently renting space from WeWork in another downtown location.  Last summer, Amazon signed a lease for offices in the former Expedia headquarters, which will begin next year. It also just secured square footage in a planned 17-story story building designed by LMN Architects, according to GeekWire. It’s been said that Bellevue 600, the largest of all these office spaces, would be built atop a future transit and light rail station that could easily connect employees with the Seattle home base.  While Seattle is practically synonymous now with Amazon, Bezos actually began the company out of his garage in Bellevue in 1994. It’s a little-recognized fact that, when put in the context of the company’s current clashes with Seattle city government, makes sense for Amazon’s next big move. Belleuve is already emerging as a major tech hub—Google, Facebook, T-Mobile, and even Expedia have leased space in and around downtown Bellevue, according to Geekwire. And local politicians are welcoming them in. But just because it’s gobbling up leases in the Eastside city doesn’t mean Bellevue is the site of HQ2, or that it’s halting expansion in Seattle.  Regardless of the intention behind it, Amazon’s real estate portfolio is rapidly growing. Set for completion in 2024, Bellevue 600 would provide room for the entirety of Amazon’s Worldwide Operations division, according to The Seattle Times. This includes all of the personnel that handle the delivery and logistics of each package that a customer orders, and the operations of the company’s 175 global fulfillment centers.  Details on the design or development of the structure have not been released, but it’s been reported that, based on NBBJ’s proposal, the tower would include 885,000 square feet of office space atop a podium with room for retail, “office amenity” space, and a meeting center. Several pedestrian plazas would envelop the outdoor space as well. There’s even speculation of another tower planned for the site, which Amazon has yet to fully confirm. 
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Seattle makes affordable housing mandatory in upzoned neighborhoods

Architects and developers building across much of Seattle will soon have to meet the city’s new Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) requirements, a set of rules passed with a spate of recent comprehensive zoning changes designed to ensure that “new commercial and multifamily residential development contributes [new] affordable housing.”

The MHA regulations were approved this spring and are expected to add over 6,000 new low-income housing units to the city’s housing stock over the next decade. The changes are part of the city’s Housing Affordability and Living Agenda, a three-pronged effort undertaken by city agencies several years ago to increase housing supply in order to stem escalating rents and property values across the thriving region. The fiercely contested changes in land use will allow for a greater level of residential density in many of the city’s neighborhoods and will ask builders to either include affordable housing on-site or pay into a general fund that can be used by city agencies to create new affordable housing in other areas.

The new regulations span five categories of development density, from low-rise detached and row house neighborhoods to taller mixed-use districts where buildings will be allowed to rise to a height of 95 feet or more. The efforts will upzone roughly 6 percent of the city’s single-family zones. Single-family zones ultimately make up over 80 percent of the city’s residential areas.

MHA regulations, according to planning documents provided by the City of Seattle, will be pegged to the degree of upzoning that takes place: Under the plan, areas that have been upzoned most significantly will be required to add a relatively higher proportion of new affordable housing. The required fees administered in lieu of on-site affordable housing construction will start at $5.58 per square foot for projects located in low-rise areas outside downtown Seattle and will go as high as $35.75 per square foot for larger mixed-use developments, according to city agencies.

The requirements will necessarily affect the work of architects designing buildings in these areas, but it is so far unclear exactly how.  The MHA requirements are set to go into effect immediately, as the city’s rezoning initiatives are approved on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis.

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Octave 9 adds new space for experimental music in Seattle

Thanks to LMN Architects, Seattle has a new space for making experimental music. The recently opened Octave 9: Raisbeck Music Center performance and educational music facility brings new state-of-the-art sound experience capabilities right to the city’s Benaroya Hall symphony complex, which was also designed by LMN 20 years ago.

The new music center is spectacularly technical in terms of its offerings, and includes a custom-designed acoustically absorptive ceiling and 13 curving screens hung on circular tracks that can create nearly-360-degree immersive and interactive projections. The facility's speakers, microphones, projectors, lighting, and HVAC are all integrated into the absorptive ceiling while a professional-quality Meyer Constellation digital acoustic system is sophisticated enough to allow musicians who use the space to engage in cross-genre performances.

According to the architects, the sound system enables a “spatial sound” experience, created when individual speakers across the room play selective sounds to create the impression of movement.

Octave 9: Raisbeck Music Center at Benaroya Hall 200 University Street Seattle, Washington Architect: LMN Architects