Seattle’s Yesler Terrace neighborhood could soon see additional housing sprouting up, following a recent Central Area Design Review Board meeting. During the Early Design Guidance meeting, Kamiak shared its proposal for a 127-unit apartment project at 119 12th Street.
The project, which is being designed by Hybrid Architects, proposes an eight-story building with frontage along 12th and Fir Streets. The proposed design also incorporates ground level retail, 42 parking spaces and a number of community amenities, including a lobby, co-working spaces, a large outdoor courtyard and more.
During the meeting, Hybrid Architects shared three conceptual plans for the proposed building’s design. The preferred design scheme proposed an H-shaped building, with two courtyards on either side of the central portion of the building. The preferred scheme also activates the pedestrian realm through the use of wider sidewalks, a corner plaza and residential entryway.
Other design schemes presented to the board included an O-shaped building with an enclosed central courtyard and a U-shaped building with a deeper, thinner courtyard opening up to the south.
“Looking into our H-shaped scheme…we are really celebrating this corner. We have a recessed corner entry here that we’d pass underneath the building, to provide some weather protection and really bring the entry off of both 12th and Fir, and we’ve kind of followed that gesture with some open decks on the upper stories to, once again, really prioritize this corner activation,”said Robert Humble of Hybrid.
According to Hybrid, the design of the building is inspired by the site’s sloped topography – particularly on the northern facade along Fir Street. The massing of the proposed building is designed to step in line with the existing topography. The building would slope from east to west, and the main pedestrian entrance at the corner would be positioned at the flatter portion of the site.
“It’s not trying to do a whole lot architecturally, but just really be a very simple clean massing that can help express its massing – stepping up the hill in a clean manner, and really focusing on pulling back the ground floor again for the pedestrian and landscape experience,” Humble said.
The courtyards also would be used to enhance the pedestrian experience. The common courtyards would allow for additional light and air to flow through residential units while also breaking up the bulk of the building and allowing for more light at the street level.
At the street level, retail spaces are setback, further widening pedestrian walkways while simultaneously providing overhead weather protection. Added width at the ground level also would allow for additional opportunities to implement lighting, seating and planters.
“We’ve basically pulled the lowest level of our building, six feet from the property line, to provide overhead weather protection,” Humble said. “…We, once again really look into treating this as a theater, both at the street level along 12th Avenue by providing a building that cantilevers over the sidewalk that allows for a wider sidewalk experience and some protection from the elements for outdoor seating.”
Overall, the board was supportive of the project, and ultimately made the decision to move it onto the next steps in the design review process. In particular, the board was largely in support of the proposed sloped massing. The board was also in support of the connectivity of the corner open space, and the level of thought put into activating the street level for both pedestrians and future tenants.
However, the board also shared several suggestions for the project team to consider in moving forward. The board expressed concern about the amount of natural light being broad into the units and also encouraged the design team to consider certain logistical challenges – including the location of the trash area – and how they might impact the overall flow of the design.