By Meghan Hall
A newly-approved residential project in Seattle’s Othello neighborhood was given the green light to proceed with entitlements after a final Recommendation Meeting earlier this week. Proposed by Greater Seattle Development LLC and Studio 19 Architects, the Southeast Design Review Board generally believed that the proposed plans for the 5722 Apartments would cater well to the adjacent wetlands and new development planned across the street.
The project is expected to rise seven stories and include 258 residential units. The development’s massing scheme is simple in form in an effort to provide clarity in design, according to the project team. The 5722 Apartments complex will open up onto a centralized courtyard space, and residential uses will also be located at the ground level to activate the street frontages. Additional public and private outdoor spaces will be located along the street front of the building, and a roof deck amenity space is planned for the development.
“We’ve also pushed our building back significantly along the street frontage to allow for more outdoor open space, seating and landscaping, plazas and stoops and buffers, so that the residents and the community enjoy this space…,” explained Studio 19’s Jeff Walls.
Studio 19 Architects also modified the façades by introducing angular moves to break down the mass and prevent the design from feeling too modern or monotonous. Differing modulation patterns at the upper and lower levels add increased interests, and brightly colored vertical metal fins were added to the east and west facades, for texture.
“So, what we have done is separated the building into two main volumes, and then within those volumes broke those up again by creating a lower level of massing and an upper level of massing that cantilevers over,” said Walls.
A mix of charcoal, white and grey fiber cement panels, metal shadow boxes, aluminum storefronts and roll-up doors are just a few of the materials that will be incorporated into the façade of the building. More aluminum planking in a wood grain pattern, as well as vinyl windows and orange canopies, will provide additional interest to the façade. The design team has placed darker paneling on the bottom to anchor the building, while lighter colors are intended to draw the eye upwards.
In addition, a substantial landscape buffer will be added along 35th, and 28 different street trees will be added to the site, which will make up for several exceptional trees that are to be removed due to the development process.
Overall, the Review Board generally appreciated the design of the projects and the improvements that the design team made since the project’s previous evaluation. One Board member did question the modernity of the building, remarking that the building was almost “aggressively modern.” However, other Board members highlighted that due to recent up-zones, the neighborhood context would be evolving in the coming years, likely towards a more modern aesthetic. Because of this, another Board member acknowledged that being the first larger, newer development in a neighborhood was “always harder.”
The Board did deliberate if certain massing moves could be made, such as emphasizing the entry points into the building or addition of canopies above the ground floor units, in order to build upon the restrained massing in the beginning. In the end, the Board did condition that some sort of massing move be added to break down the scale of the building at the pedestrian level.
The Board also greatly appreciated the landscaping, including the species of trees included in the project. As the project evolves, the Board stipulated that the trees should stay in the project, as they too helped to break up the façade of the building. With these two conditions in hand, the Board unanimously voted to move the project forward so it can complete the remainder of the entitlements process.