Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Stuff I'm Digging ... 12th and Pike Construction

Seattle is currently a sea of construction cranes. From 40+ story residential and office towers, to full-block apartment/condo buildings, to smaller lot-sized buildings. And while not all of them are worthy or appropriately sized for their location, there is definitely a plethora of good things happening (which is what I'll focus on, choosing to ignore the bad).

The city is getting bigger. I believe an urban core should get tall, and the close-in neighborhoods should get dense. So here we are - getting bigger, taller, and denser. Down Pike street from our offices are a couple of appropriately sized small-lot buildings on the same block. In between them are old brick and masonry buildings, all with an excellent pedestrian friendly street presence. Capitol Hill is a fantastic neighborhood with restaurants, night clubs, galleries and shops, residences, and all the amenities of urban living.

One of the recent additions to the 12th and Pike block are the Agnes Lofts. The building itself is four stories. There's Boom Noodle and the Balagan Theater at street level, and three floors of lofts above. Designed by Weinstein AU, this project commands the corner of the block and maximizes the lot, but does so in a way that adds to the neighborhood rather than taking over the neighborhood. I'm all about a city progressing. Out with the decrepit and in with the new (and hopefully save what can be saved - if worth saving!). People moan about their old haunts being torn down, but usually those old haunts are almost falling down.

The second project sits one lot to the west of the Agnes Lofts. This one is called Eleven Eleven, and was designed by Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen. I have to admit, I'm pretty psyched by this one. Granted, the prices are going to be really expensive, but that's no reason to not like the building! This one sits on a narrow, small, inner block lot. I wish all blocks could be developed this way, rather than all the buildings being torn down for one full-block building. C'est la vie, but at least we get one in our neighborhood...

What's great about this one is the use of materials and colors in combination with the architectural design elements, which together are stated to give homage to the automotive and industrial businesses that used to adorn the neighborhood. And check out the remaining buildings on either side. What a great block!

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