Seattle apartment is an imaginative response to urban growth
Seattle is expected to grow by another 70,000 residents in the next 20 years. A collaboration between The Miller Hull Partnership and Runberg Architecture Group resulted in a whimsical new style of apartment building. With cantilevered longitudinally placed balconies and a generous public green space in front, 8th and Republican is a different kind of urban residence aiming at a more pleasant and sustainable future.
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Seattle’s Republican Street is a commercial corridor while 8th Avenue is a busy residential street. As a result, the 8th and Republican development was designed to be mixed use to balance out public and private needs of inhabitants. The new building redevelops half a block of Seattle’s emerging South Lake Union neighborhood with 211 apartments. There will also be a neighborhood café and a photographic equipment room for a longstanding family camera retailer in the neighborhood.
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The geological and quarry forms inspired the shape of the building in the neighborhood. Installed stormwater infrastructure is visible from the sidewalk. An elevated public walkway called the Megastoop crosses a large rain garden through a stand of trees. The eight-story, post-tensioned concrete building stands behind this garden space. It aims to be more of a backdrop to the scenery than the main event.
Furthermore, the café out front features an interactive water feature. The designers say that placing the building back from the street also allowed them to keep the façades simple. It avoids more expensive façade modulation usually required by the Design Review Board.
On the other hand, the inside features a two-story lobby. Somethings included are gathering spaces and flexible workspaces for residents. Meanwhile, the roof has a sunset deck with city views.
Type l post-tensioned concrete was chosen by the architects for its reduced structural depth. It allowed for the addition of an extra floor and 29 additional apartments in the building. Between concrete slabs, exterior non-bearing walls are framed in wood instead of light-gauge metal to reduce thermal bridging and the need for expensive exterior insulation. Long six by 10-feet balconies extend over the courtyard from a number of apartments, cantilevered to allow for additional expansive views of the green space.
The design was awarded an AIA Seattle 2018 Honorable Mention. It’s a unique take on solving urban building challenges while also saving materials, money and conserving green space and biodiversity.