Across the street is a gigantic super-block that was cleared for the last (2) years to make way for the Bowman Stoneway Apartments. This is prime real estate if I ever saw it and one of the most rapidly changing street frontages in Seattle right now.
I wanted to stop and showcase a couple of items that, on the surface, don’t seem like a big deal and don’t appear special, but are in fact some of the best moves I have seen out of an architecture/planning firm this year.
1) courtyards / interstitial open space
The inside and in-between courtyards are stunning for this super-block shown in the level of care taken to ensure ample room was given to spatial volume. This takes serious commitment, I’m serious! Most developers cannot be convinced that these spaces are just as important as the rest of the project and, more often than not, these spaces make or break a project.
No matter how gorgeous the architecture is, if there isn’t enough room in between buildings or property lines to breathe and not make people feel that they are being squashed is critical to the success and longevity of a housing project. These courtyards were not only given enough room, but they were properly landscaped and terraced to give interest and enough light and air to the residents above with operable windows to create community by being able to watch for neighbors and hangout in a mutual space that can be cared for by all.
2) terracing / gliding from entry to exit
The concrete work and railing system do wonders to the architecture, boosting its credibility and enhancing the experience of strolling through the courtyards. It is a continuation of the pathways that meander and wind, rather than cut to the chase, and there is thought involved in getting people simply out and onto street level. This is an art-form if done as they have at the Bowman.
3) real wood / textural and tactile
oh my goodness. You would not believe how rare it is to see real wood window and door systems! Especially on the exterior! This is a cause for pause. This is not skimping, this is giving back and making the human experience at ground level more than the traditional. This is showing you care for the future of your retail and the tenant’s success. This is something.
4) giving back / human condition
Those glass awnings that allow light to filter in a delicate way and surprise us by the leaves on top. The benches that flow with the concrete terracing. The wall sconces that bring delight and not disappointment.