Home AEC Washington Holding’s 230-Unit Apartment Proposal Moved Forward by Seattle Design Review Board

Washington Holding’s 230-Unit Apartment Proposal Moved Forward by Seattle Design Review Board

Encore Architects, Seattle, Downtown Design Review Board, Weisman Design Group, Washington Holdings, Olympic Sculpture Park

By Catherine Sweeney 

A new project by Washington Holdings is moving through Seattle’s design review process. Following an early design guidance meeting with the city’s Downtown Design Review Board on Tuesday, the Seattle-based firm’s 230-unit apartment project will be moving forward to the next step in the planning stages. 

Located at 3000 Western Ave., the project would include the construction of a nine-story building, including three levels of parking for up to 100 vehicles and 3,000 square feet of residential lobby and amenity spaces.

Designs for the project are led by Encore Architects, with landscape designs from Weisman Design Group. During the meeting, Heather Hargesheimer from Encore Architects gave more details on what plans for the project’s design would entail. 

“The goals for the project are to enhance the neighborhood by reestablishing the urban fabric through reviving this underutilized site and creating a building that responds to its special location and its achievement of meaningful, sustainable design goals, including participating in the city’s Living Building Pilot program,” Hargesheimer said. 

Overall, the design team aims to address several development goals through the project, which are to activate the sidewalks around the site, improve the pedestrian experience and enhance the site’s connection to the nearby Olympic Sculpture Park. The proposal also aims to incorporate high-quality materials and systems that participate in the Living Building Pilot Program, which aims to meet the city’s clean energy and climate goals.

To meet these goals, the project team proposed three design schemes. The first of these is the “C” scheme, a multifamily building shaped like a “C” with stair stepping along Eagle Street. This option also offers a larger courtyard along Western Avenue. However, the “C” scheme’s stepping does not tie into the overall building and it lacks a strong corner entry, according to the proposal. 

The second option, the “I” scheme, would create two smaller courtyards due to its shape. The project overall would offer stronger architectural expression as well as a setback from the neighboring property, but would not fit as strongly into the designs of the larger neighborhood. 

The final option, which was the one most preferred by the project team, is the “Folded I” scheme. This option includes folded forms in the shape of the folded pathways in the adjacent park, emphasizing the prominence of its location. This scheme also allows the new building to align with the upper portions of the residential building to the north. 

“In this scheme, we took cues from the surrounding context; landforms in the street grid have created a building form that is rooted in its location. Angled walls of the pavilion and the folded nature of the pedestrian path through the sculpture park are inspirations for the building form,” said Hargesheimer. “But the form also draws from its unique location in the city. As it hits the north edge of Elliott Bay, the street grid changes, from parallel to the Elliott Bay at a different angle.”

Overall, the board was supportive of the project’s designs, ultimately moving it forward to a master use permit. However, in doing so, the board also gave several suggestions for the project team to consider. 

The board suggested that the team make the portion of the site along Eagle Street more dynamic by incorporating multiple paved elements for better pedestrian circulation. Board members also agreed to the team’s proposed green street but asked for more information regarding the material expression and street facade. Additionally, it was suggested that the team make it more clear to prospective tenants and the public about how the project fits into the Living Building Pilot program.