Home AEC 119-Unit Multifamily Project in Seattle’s Cascade Neighborhood Gets Approval from Design Review...

119-Unit Multifamily Project in Seattle’s Cascade Neighborhood Gets Approval from Design Review Board

Seattle, Cascade, Public47 Architects, West Design Review Board, Vulcan Real Estate

By Catherine Sweeney 

After a recent recommendation hearing with Seattle’s West Design Review Board, Vulcan Real Estate received unanimous approval to move its newest project forward in the permitting process. The residential project is being designed by Public47 Architects and would bring 119 residential units to the city’s Cascade neighborhood.  

Located at 210 Minor Avenue at the intersection of John Street, the building would stand eight stories tall. The project site has remained mostly unused and is currently home to a surface parking lot. Jeff Boone, founding partner of Public47, noted the firm’s intent to “fill in the missing corner” and activate the space in a pedestrian-friendly manner. 

“Central is the goal to create an enduring apartment building with 118 units that provides a variety of high quality dwelling units, while from the outside respects and compliments its neighbors. While we understand the small scale, this site, especially relative town going developments, it reinforces the importance of paying particular attention to the pedestrian experience in our opportunity to really enliven this vacant corner, providing a dynamic, safe and enjoyable pedestrian experience,” Boone said. 

The firm had previously met with the West Design Review Board in July, when a preferred design scheme called “Channel” was approved by the board. The preferred design scheme includes a one-story podium containing amenity spaces along John Street as well as a two-story setback along Minor Avenue. While choosing the preferred design scheme, the board made several suggestions that the architecture firm was able to respond to and expand upon. In returning to the board, the design team responded to the guidance to incorporate higher quality materials and improve the overall facade appearance of the building. 

In its updated plans, the design team will use corrugated metal on the upper volume, which will be offset by white soffits supporting the upper portion of the building. Fiber cement will also be used as an in-fill material at the upper levels. At the lower street level podium, the building will be clad in a mix of brick and wood. Wood will be used as an accent along the front entrance of the building as well as a siding material. 

To further add to the facade, the building will also add Juliet-style balconies. According to Boone, this approach will reinforce the shifted corner windows and provide an added element to the massing concept.  

“The design strives to maintain an overall wholeness and integrity while reinforcing the interlocking massing concept. The carved out areas along the corner of John and minor are clad in wood, providing warm materiality and texture to these exceptional moments,” Boone said. “The single-story podium that wraps around from the alley to the corner is proposed to be masonry. The proposed facade materials are restrained with subtle changes in texture and tones that maintains a cohesive wholeness where the interlocking elements are complementary and subtle.” 

At the ground floor level, the design team will also add a significant level of glazing to the windows at the lobby and amenity spaces to create a transparent look while still maintaining a level of privacy. 

Further, the facade along John Street will include a generous amount of window space so as to add visual interest and break up proportions of blank walls. This will also allow for natural light and provide views of the outdoor corner patio space. 

The angled carved-out patio will also feature landscaping, per the board’s previous guidance. According to Public47, the lower portion of the building will include public seating, while also featuring a landscaped buffer between the sidewalk and the building to add a level of privacy. 

“This provides a more gracious functional lobby amenity space as well as a front porch that has the potential to be occupied with tables and chairs and better encourage interaction with the pedestrian activity on the street,” Boone said. 

Overall, the board was approving of the project but noted several conditions for the design team to review when moving forward with the project. While appreciating the added elements to the facade, the board also emphasized the importance of developing the facade into a cohesive architectural expression in the context of the surrounding buildings and the neighborhood. Further, the board noted the importance of added lighting along the alley and other outdoor spaces for pedestrian engagement as well as safety.