Home AEC 171-Unit Multifamily Project to Return to Seattle Design Review for Second EDG...

171-Unit Multifamily Project to Return to Seattle Design Review for Second EDG Meeting

Vibrant Studies, Link Design Group, Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle University, Seattle, Central Area Design Review Board

By Catherine Sweeney

A 171-unit development planned near Seattle University will have to return for a second Early Design Guidance meeting. Last week, project developer Vibrant Cities presented preliminary plans for the residential project at a hearing with the Central Area Design Review Board. However, with some more fine tuning left to do, board members ultimately asked the project to return.

The project would be located at 900 12th Ave., fronting 12th Avenue, Marion Street and 13th Avenue. In total, the building would stand seven stories and offer residential space, retail and parking for 42 vehicles.

Designed by Link Design Studio, the project also aims to provide a new home to the Photographic Center Northwest, a long-time Seattle institution that has been in the neighborhood since the 1990s. The proposal includes the demolition of the existing building and surface parking lot to make way for a brand new space for the school on the ground floor.

“We are excited to continue developing the design of the this project along with our partners at PCNW and Vibrant Cties and we really appreciate the board guidance moving this project forward,” Han Nan Beh, principal architect at Link Design Group said.

During the meeting, the design team presented several concepts for the board’s review. The first – and preferred option by the team – was The Aperture. This massing scheme would scale the building, offering a setback to a portion of the upper level to reduce the overall bulk of the building and create a stepped building mass. This option would also include a grid-like design of residential unit-scaled modules to reflect the use and further break down the scale of the building, according to project plans.

“We wanted to find a way to create multiple focal points in the massing that emphasizes the building corners at different scales, that would reflect the diversity of the neighborhood,” Nan Beh said.

He continued, “… The Southwest and the first floor massing is separated by a horizontal gasket that picks up on the datum lines of the existing bars and restaurants. We then identify a hierarchy of urban, pedestrian and neighborhood apertures and use modulated frames to accentuate the carving away to building mass by providing these enhanced focal points where most people would interact with the building.”

Other concepts included The Fold and The Interlock. According to the project proposal, The Fold aims to differentiate the upper levels from the lower levels by folding the facade along the face of the building to create added visual interest. and a sense of movement.

The Interlock design scheme would divide the building into two components, consisting of a taller mass on the commercial street corner and a shorter mass from the residential side. The two would connect, forming an interlocking geometric design.

Overall, the board was supportive of the project in wanting to see it move forward in the future. However, to do so, the board offered several suggestions for the board to consider when bringing the project back for another hearing.

In particular, the board asked to see studies of the massing that addresses a hybrid of the Interlock and The Aperture schemes. The board also asked that the study examine the larger residential area as well as a more specific ground floor plan.