Street Critic | Tight squeezes

(Images: John M Feit)

(Images: John M Feit)

One of the great joys of urban exploration is the variety of scales one encounters in the built environment. While that range on Capitol Hill is generally restricted to small to medium building types, even such a limited offering provides some startling juxtapositions. As a bit of an architectural taxonomist, I notice several potential causes for these juxtapositions: those resulting from a change in zoning, those built on very small parcels of land, and  those that are simply the result of finding a good deal on rent.

Possible zoning changes are exhibited in two neighboring buildings on 18th Ave E, north of E John. For the uninitiated, zoning prescribes not only how big and what uses a building may have, but also dictates how far it needs to be set back from the street and neighboring properties. In the examples below, there may either have been no zoning when the apartments were built next to the single family homes; or, the zoning may have changed to allow such a proximate mix in uses. The closeness of the buildings to one another certainly would not be allowed under today’s building and zoning codes, at least not without significant changes to their designs. The tight fit between the buildings provides a finer weft of the built history of our neighborhood because they are nearly contemporaneous, and do not contrast in appearance as buildings whose construction is separated by many decades. Continue reading

Light touch of Capitol Hill school’s chapel recognized for architectural excellence

(Images: Seattle Prep)

(Images: Seattle Prep)

Seattle Prep wasn’t looking to win international recognition for its new chapel, it just sort of happened.

“We just wanted the space to be very simple and modest and open, said Ben Mawhinney, director of communications for the school. The idea, he said was to have something that reflected the simplicity of Jesuit values, but something that also worked within the style of the campus and the Pacific Northwest.

The 11th Ave E school’s recently completed Our Lady of Montserrat Chapel is being praised as one of the best new religious structures in the country.

The 1,600 square-foot chapel is named for a statue of the Virgin Mary which figured in a pivotal moment in the life of Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order. It was designed by Hennebery Eddy Architects of Portland. The chapel doesn’t feature a lot of religious symbology and isn’t as ornate as some Catholic places of worship can be.

“It’s very quiet, without a lot of visual stimulation,” Mawhinney said. Continue reading

CHS Street Critic | 19th Avenue: Back to the Future

CHS Street Critic is a new semi-regular column focused on street level architecture and design from a longtime CHS contributor.

19th Ave is Capitol Hill’s most eastern shopping street. Its buildings house an eclectic mix of independent businesses ranging from professional services, health care, education, restaurants, to a martial arts studio, intermixed with single and multifamily housing. Part of 19th’s vibrancy and commercial health lies in the daily contribution made by one of the two private school’s that are proximate to it, adding some 1,400 students. A mix of children and teenagers (who either walk, drive, or are dropped off), faculty and staff swell the activity at the intersection of Aloha and 19th, the neighborhood’s busiest. Despite the twice daily ritual of pick-up and drop-off, the intervening hours have a leisurely aspect to them, and are mostly the domain of locals. All of these qualities of 19th Ave serve as a model, I believe, in how a diversity of uses and housing options in a predominately single family neighborhood add richness to the residents’ lives.

The most concentrated mix of uses and housing types are found in the middle of the stretch between Madison and Galer. At 19th and Republican, El Cuento Spanish Immersion School and The Country Doctor Community Clinic face each other in quiet repose. El Cuento is one of several educational establishments along 19th and is tucked into the ground floor of an apartment building of early 20th Century Vintage.

The Country Doctor has been on the Hill since 1971 and provides a full range of primary care medical services for folks of all ages, cultures, and incomes. The clinic occupies several buildings that share some of the architectural elements of El Cuento (bay windows and ground floor  storefront the most obvious). Part of County Doctor is actually two joined buildings —  a single story and two story structure. The taller of the pair is a rare commercial structure whose size as more a response to fulfilling immediate needs rather than investment prerogatives. Its abundant glazing relative to its small stature gives it a proud presence on the street.  Continue reading

Capitol Hill Art Walk – HyBrid_Space presents: Etta Lilienthal

Come join us on October 8th as a part of the Capitol Hill Art Walk for Etta Lilienthal’s

“High and Low depend on each other, Before and After follow each other”

This work is a response to the dramatic changes happening in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

An empty space in the ground and the forms that fill it are the suspended sculpture’s inspiration.

Everyone is welcome to stop by from 6-9pm.
Refreshments will be provided!

Visit Etta’s website to check out more about her awesome work:
http://www.ettalilienthal.com/

Food + Architecture | Design In Depth Talk

Seattle is fueled with a variety of fresh, local food making it a creative hot bed for many food-conscious minds. This lecture explores Seattle’s creative relationship with food, zooming in and out across micro and macro levels to examine how meals, spaces, and cities are designed to enhance and develop the Seattle flavor.

Speakers:
Maxime Bilet, Imagine Food
Colin McCrate, Seattle Urban Farm Company
Mike Mora, Heliotrope
Anthony Perez, Starbucks
Matthew Parker, Huxley Wallace Collective

Pike/Pine Walking Tour: Change on an Urban Scale

Long known as the center of Seattle’s counterculture, this urban neighborhood is in the midst of a building boom, and some fear Pike/Pine’s unique character is under threat. From its beginnings as a quiet residential district to its time as Seattle’s first ‘Auto Row’ and its later role as the heart of the local LGBT community, Pike/Pine has always been defined by change. Its story is written in the buildings and streetscapes that help give the neighborhood its character. Can this character be preserved amidst all the new development? Decide for yourself as we explore the past, present, and future of one of Seattle’s most dynamic districts

Pike/Pine Walking Tour: Change on an Urban Scale

Long known as the center of Seattle’s counterculture, this urban neighborhood is in the midst of a building boom, and some fear Pike/Pine’s unique character is under threat. From its beginnings as a quiet residential district to its time as Seattle’s first ‘Auto Row’ and its later role as the heart of the local LGBT community, Pike/Pine has always been defined by change. Its story is written in the buildings and streetscapes that help give the neighborhood its character. Can this character be preserved amidst all the new development? Decide for yourself as we explore the past, present, and future of one of Seattle’s most dynamic districts.

Pike/Pine Walking Tour: Change on an Urban Scale

Long known as the center of Seattle’s counterculture, this urban neighborhood is in the midst of a building boom, and some fear Pike/Pine’s unique character is under threat. From its beginnings as a quiet residential district to its time as Seattle’s first ‘Auto Row’ and its later role as the heart of the local LGBT community, Pike/Pine has always been defined by change. Its story is written in the buildings and streetscapes that help give the neighborhood its character. Can this character be preserved amidst all the new development? Decide for yourself as we explore the past, present, and future of one of Seattle’s most dynamic districts.

Harvard/Belmont Walking Tour: The Rich Life on Capitol Hill

Have your cake and gossip too as we visit Seattle’s only residential Landmark District featuring a wealth of upscale, early 20th century architecture. Harvard/Belmont is a veritable portfolio of the finest designers of the day: Charles Platt of New York and Hornblower and Marshall of Washington, D.C., as well as prominent area architects, including John Graham, Sr., Charles Bebb and Carl Gould, Kirtland Cutter, Andrew Willatsen, Arthur Loveless, Freed Anhalt, and A. H. Albertson. They provided innovative plans, a high level of craftsmanship and beautifully landscaped courtyards, which gives this neighborhood its distinctive character.

Capitol Hill Station’s next stop: Transportation Choices shows sneak peek of UW Station

More teaser pics from UW Station and an update on the transportation happenings in Olympia here from Transportation Choice

More teaser pics from UW Station and an update on the transportation happenings in Olympia here from Transportation Choices

Last Tuesday, we told you the Big Red Wall around the future Capitol Hill Station was beginning to come down in preparation for U-Link’s expected 8% under budget, six or so months early depending on who’s counting, early 2016 (March?) start of light rail service between downtown and the University of Washington via Capitol Hill.

Pfew! That’s exciting!

So, how about a look at the other end of the equation! Here’s a peek inside your northern light rail destination adjacent Husky Stadium, courtesy Transportation Choices:

TCC got an inside look at both stations today, and here are some pictures of the highlights of the gorgeous UW Station (Capitol Hill station pictures are embargoed but we assure you, it looks great!).

We’re only a little envious of you, TCC, and your embargoed pics of the Broadway light rail station. At least we know what Capitol Hill Station art will look like integrating works by Capitol Hill artist Ellen Forney and a massive “Jet Kiss” sculpture by artist Mike Ross. And, of course, we did get to do this: