By Meghan Hall
Dallas, Texas-based developer Lincoln Property Company scored a victory Tuesday night when the Downtown Seattle Design Review Board unanimously voted to approve the design of 800 Stewart, a 53-Story mixed-use tower at the heart of the Denny Triangle. The approval came at the project’s second Early Design Guidance meeting and after Lincoln Property Company, in conjunction with Weber Thompson, further refined one of several massing options originally presented to the board.
Upon completion, the tower will total 568 residential units, several levels of commercial office space totaling around 37,000 square feet and a ground floor retail space. Around 23,000 square feet of amenity and roof deck space, according to the project’s original design documents. The tower’s project team also includes HEWITT as landscape architect, Magnusson Klemencic Associates as the structural engineer, Rushing as MEP Engineer and McCartan for interior design.
The scheme of the project, referred to as “Refract,” a sleek, elongated tower with transitional edges that cut away between the faces of the tower in an effort to reduce its perceived bulk and size. At the previous Early Design Guidance meeting at the end of August, the review board recommended that the development team continue to develop the proposed design scheme, as initial iterations of Refract did not provide enough character or interest.
““The board found that the general idea behind the scheme was compelling, but agreed that the design concept tis only expressed in form and required further development,” explained David Burpee, associate at Weber Thompson. The design team performed a series of massing studies, exploring some alternate configurations, locations and sizes of some of the chamfers. So as a result, the design team felt that sort of a wholesale change or reconfiguration of the massing, modifying the preferred design in accordance with the board’s specific guidance, was the strongest design response.”
In response to the board’s August feedback, Lincoln Property Company and Weber Thompson adjusted the tower’s chamfers to create a more unified design and narrowed the top portion of the tower. The tower’s punched openings have been adjusted to match the massing shifts in the tower’s design, and the openings have been heightened as well. The design team also chose to use folds at the base of the building to echo the chamfers up top and bring the massing scheme down to grade. Columns will be used to show the step backs along the chamfers. The design team has also chosen “tone-on-tone” glass that will provide tonal shifts between the chamfers and folds in the tower.
The board asked several questions about how the vision glass would be distributed throughout the tower and also asked for clarification as to how the top of the tower would terminate with the proposed canopy structure, and how that canopy would relate to the rest of the tower in both massing and materiality. The board also noted that the lobby entrance was not entirely distinguishable and also recommended that materials should be used to make the building a more prominent feature in the neighborhood. However, the board approved of the design and unanimously voted to move the project forward.
Located between Seattle’s South Lake Union and downtown’s growing retail core, the Denny Triangle is one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in Seattle. Over the past five years, the Denny Triangle has seen a 27 percent increase in population. That demographic shift was kicked off in 2013 by Via6, when the 654-unit tower reached completion. Since then, thousands of residential units have come online or are expected to open in 2020. The Denny Triangle, however, has also seen significant commercial growth, with 1.7 million square feet of office space added since 2005. Amazon currently has 2.2 million square feet in the Denny Triangle and is currently renovating a third at 1915 Terry. Touchstone is also constructing a 222-key hotel with 300,000 square feet of office space, while the Washington State Convention Center is expected to open in 2022.