Design review: Trading a 1929 Capitol Hill apartment building for a 2019 version on Harvard Ave E

Wednesday night could bring the final design step in the process for a Capitol Hill circa late 2018 trade of necessity — a 1929-built, two-story masonry apartment building with eight units making way for a planned 2019 or so-built, four-story apartment building with 25 “small efficiency dwelling units” and 13 standard apartments.

The development from Hybrid Architecture and the family trust that owns the property is slated to come before the East Design Review Board Wednesday night:

Design review: 740 Harvard Ave E

Parking for 17 vehicles is proposed. And, of course, the existing structure is slated to be demolished. Continue reading

How would you redesign the Neighbours Alley?

The alley between Broadway and Harvard Ave — the Neighbours Alley

As Capitol Hill becomes an even more crowded and busy place, the neighborhood is finding ways to put more of its space to use.

The alley connecting Pike to Pine just west of Broadway is set for a transformation hoped to enhance the neighborhood and surrounding streets. Tuesday night, you can help start work on redesigning the Neighbours Alley:

Neighbours Alley Workshop

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Street Critic | Capitol Hill’s concrete sentinels

The Shannon View from Southeast (Images: John Feit)

Cast-in-place concrete was the touchstone modernist material. When combined with steel reinforcing it allowed for the long-span and tall buildings that late 19th and early 20th Century architects dreamt of. Furthermore, and unlike the steel buried in its slurry, concrete did not corrode or lose strength in fires allowing for it to have a forthright expression without the need for any protective paint, coating, or enclosure. It was able to be left bare and pure as both structure and enclosure. It achieved, in other words, all that could be hoped for in a modern material. Its apogee in the United States was from the late 1950’s until the mid-1970’s and Belmont Avenue East has three consecutive mid-rise condominium buildings – the Shannon, the Highlander, and the Lamplighter – that pay homage to that era. Their mid-century designs have a surprising upside, too. Continue reading

For E Pike’s Arden Home, a new name and, hopefully, a new connection with the neighborhood

With its first incarnation shadowed by a controversy over interpretation of its longtime brand, Katie Largent is hoping for a better start for Arden Home.

“The change was really bigger than all of the controversy,” Largent said of the backlash that formed when Plantation Design — a Los Angeles-born provider of the botanical motifs, woven surfaces, and shutters of the plantation style of interior design — expanded to San Francisco and Seattle. Continue reading

Design review: Bellevue Court Apartments and their Instagram-worthy Gasworks views

When it comes to Capitol Hill design reviews, we don’t usually mention the developer’s Instagram. But Yu Xiahou’s feed is pretty amazing. The design for his proposed Bellevue Court Apartments? We’ll find out what the board thinks soon.

Xiahou’s four-story, 43-unit proposal for the western edge of Capitol Hill just off Belmont Ave E with — one November 2017 post to his Instragram feed promises — Gasworks and Eastlake views is slated to come before the East Design Review Board Wednesday night:

Design Review: 1020 Bellevue Ct E

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Design review: ‘Upscale’ microhousing must play nice with neighbors on Harvard Ave E

Neighbor issues on Harvard Ave E

A project to replace what just might the simplest, saddest little two-unit apartment building on Capitol Hill with an eight-story, 71-unit development will take what should be its final bow in front of the East Design Review Board Wednesday night.

Design Review: 225 Harvard Ave E

Designed by Cone Architecture and developed by Highpoint Investments, the project in the 200 block of Harvard Ave E between E Olive Way and Thomas will rise an extra story with its plans for 66 “small efficiency dwelling units” and a set of five standard “efficiency units.” Continue reading

Design review: 19 new townhomes on 12th Ave E, 111 units on 10th Ave — UPDATE

Much has been made of the condo revival of 2018 but on Capitol Hill over the past decade, the king of new home ownership has been the townhouse. Wednesday night, a project destined to create 19 more of the homes along 12th Ave E will take what could be its final pass in front of the design review board.

Design review: 506 12th Ave E

The project to turn the land currently home to the six-unit Lance Apartments at 506 12th Ave E has been in motion since developer Isola Homes bought the land in 2016 for $3.5 million. Ownership has passed across a couple Isola-related LLCs over the years including a transaction in the King County records that shows one Isola-related LLC buying the property from another for $5.3 million in July 2018. Seems like a good deal. The project is now set up for development company Mirra Homes to create four, three-story townhomes featuring a total of 19 units and parking for 19 vehicles. Continue reading

120-pastrami-sandwich-high, 78-unit building at 14th and Pine comes to design review board’s table

The concept for new retail on E Pine destined to be part of a new four-story apartment building set to rise at the corner of 14th Ave (Images: Revolve)

Nowhere in the design objectives for a four-story, 78-unit apartment building destined to rise at the corner of 14th Ave and E Pine do the developers include providing a key Capitol Hill resource: housing for foodies looking to minimize their commutes for stacked-high corned beef and pastrami sandwiches.

Design review: 1320 E Pine

The planned L-shaped project from developer Revolve Development is slated to take its first bow in front of the East Design Review Board Wednesday night.

“This building site provides several unique opportunities,” developers write: Continue reading

Street Critic | Brutally lovely on Capitol Hill

The Dome and (back of) the Bema on 16th Avenue at Temple De Hirsch Sinai

I have always been uncomfortable with the architectural term brutalitist. Part of the rub is, I suppose, that the name is a perversion of Le Corbusier’s most treasured design element, béton brut; or, rough or raw concrete. The story goes that Corb was dissatisfied with the stewardship of some of his early, pristine, white buildings. Owners did not provide the level of upkeep required and the buildings showed their age more than Le Corbuiser (Corb) found acceptable. In a seeming about-face, he decided no longer to incorporate smooth and precise materials in his work but rather use them in a less finished, natural state. Concrete was an obvious choice. It required little upkeep -not even painting. His decision to raise what had hitherto been primarily a structural element to an architectural has been tremendously influential on generations of architects, particularity from the mid-1950’s through the early 1980’s. But alas, brut became brutal – and as one may suspect, brutalist. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Renters session hopes to explain ‘what exactly is design review?’

12th Ave Arts, the mixed-use affordable housing, commercial, theater, and nonprofit office space development from Capitol Hill Housing, completed its pass through design review in 2012.

Wednesday night, it will be the setting for the Capitol Hill Renters Initiative session designed to help Capitol Hill residents better understand the public process of shaping the design of its largest, most important new buildings. Seattle Design Explained: What Exactly is Design Review? takes place Wednesday night in the 12th Ave Arts Pike/Pine room:

Not sure why new buildings look the way they do? Wondering how design review affects renters? Want to find out about how to shape new design in our city for the better? Then come join us on September 12th for an explainer and discussion about design review! Christina Ghan from the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections and Aaron Hursey from the Seattle Design Commission will be joining us to help explain 1) what Seattle’s design review process actually is; (2) how the recently-updated Capitol Hill Design Guidelines add on to citywide standards; and (3) how to get involved through the new Early Community Outreach process. There will be time for questions and lively discussion.

Seattle’s design review process continues to evolve. In July, CHS reported on new rules for the process designed to give communities an earlier say in shaping large developments. Meanwhile, the guidelines that shape Capitol Hill reviews underwent a revision this year for the first time in a decade.