Most projects considered by the East Design Review Board come to the table with three options and a proposed “preferred” design that the developers and architects have settled on. The board typically doesn’t question the selection and sets about helping to shape the design. But in the case of a planned eight-story apartment block planned to rise across from First Hill’s First Baptist Church, the board not only said nope to the preferred design, it tossed all three proposals out.
“The Board was disappointed by the lack of any significant variation between the three schemes, and that there was no exploration of other forms that might allow the project to step back from the street-edge and create conditions that better meet the criteria in the Design Guidelines,” the report from the review meeting reads.
Wednesday night, developer Carmel Partners and Encore Architects hope to erase that disappointment with a new early design proposal to get the project back on track.
The new plan for the building has been revised “to create a much more significant vertical break in the building massing” and adds a central street level entry courtyard on the longer façade along Boylston to create “a substantial break in the full-block massing and providing an exterior open space connecting the building entry to the public realm.” The top floor of the building’s design has also been stepped back “to further reduce the perceived mass and to add an additional level of modulation.”
The developers are also keeping to their commitment to mesh well with the church and the surrounding area with a building designed as a midrise structure in an area zoned for apartment towers.
The developers also responded to the board’s request to move the building’s planned entry from the too-busy Seneca. “The revised massing relocates the building entry away from the church to the south side of the building on Boylston Avenue,” the write. “This separation reduces the architectural presence adjacent to the church entry.”
Will the new approach make up for March’s disappointment? We’ll find out Wednesday night.
104 12th Ave
Earlier in the night Wednesday, the review board will take a swing at what could be the final step in the process for a project kicked back in its last attempt to finish out design review in January.
Designed to replace the 1926-built home of Seattle Curtain Manufacturing, one of the oldest businesses in the central city, the 104 12th Ave project is destined to create a seven-story building with 279 units of housing, a mix of live/work units/commercial space at street level — “We have a mix of large and small retail spaces along 12th Avenue and space for a smaller retail space at the east side of the property (10,356 GSF total).” — and underground parking for around 130 vehicles at 12th and Yesler.
In January, the board asked
developer Vulcan and Encore Architects developer Centric Partners and the architects at Clark Barnes to come back with a better design for the building’s presence at the corner of 12th and Yesler which, “given the prominent gateway location,” should “create a unique building identity.”
It’s a tall order. The response from developers, they say, is to create a corner design that “is one piece of a larger intended story that will be integrated through the site.”
“The screens are planned to be semi-transparent (glass or perforated/cut metal), and are movable by the residents,” they write. “This will create a dynamic element that changes over time. At night, it is anticipated that the corner will act as a prominent lantern with filtered light projecting through the screens.”
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