Thursday, February 19, 2009

Room With a View (of a room)

Wow. Somewhere in the development process someone is to blame for screwing up. Probably the responsibility lies with the building department, but the proposal should never have come to the table. The developer AND architect really should not have put money before impact... The other day I was walking around Seattle and found this little gem of lame planning:

Look at how close these two buildings are together! The completed one has been occupied for a few years now. Not sure if the building under construction was recorded/planned before people purchased their units in the condo tower, certainly I hope those buyers researched before signing. Either way, there a few along the way who should have stopped this mammoth screw up.

I'm thinking the buildings are no more that 9 feet apart at their closest, which is probably some ridiculous minimum in the code book - but that doesn't mean you should take advantage in this way. It's not good for the condo owners, it's not good for the future owners of the new building, and it's not good for anyone who even has to look at this failure.

I'm sure there are tons of dialogue and posts and news bits regarding this particular debacle. Another great post regarding a similar theme can be found here at For sure, density is fundamental for a city to thrive. Though with density should come a heightened sensitivity to the space a building will occupy... with its neighbors.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Design Tips to Help You Make the Sale

The following post has been submitted by one of our guest contributors to the blog: Holly McCarthy...

It is no secret that we are suffering through one of the most devastating economic climates in many years, and have already sustained substantial losses in its wake. Thousands upon thousands of people have lost their homes, and many others are on the verge of following suit. Right now, it is certainly a buyer’s market when it comes to housing, but there are some simple ways to ensure that your house sells before the guy down the block gets to your potential buyer.

It’s All About Presentation

From the dishes in the sink to the dust bunnies swirling about when the door is opened, you may want to look at your space with some fresh eyes. Keep an eye out for the latest trends and read up on what buyers are looking for. When you’re trying to sell your home, you need to make your home appeal to as many people as possible. Affordable updates are far easier than expensive renovations.

Clean It Up

Once you are equipped with the proper information about what people are looking for, snap to it. Rather than spending a fortune on new flooring, have a professional carpet cleaner come to your home and help to make things presentable. People out there scouring the market are often willing to make the major changes to your property and want to select things like tile, carpet, or wood themselves.

Fresh Paint

Relatively inexpensive, paint is a fantastic way to change up a room’s appearance. If someone looking at your home doesn’t like the color it can always be changed, but you can’t change their first impression of your home. Select neutral colors that will compliment your rooms’ features.

Accent Pieces Work Wonders

It’s amazing how some small items can make or break a space. Find bold and bright ways to liven up a room and change the way things look in a positive and economical way. Accessories, accent pillows, throws, and other items are great ways to change the look of a room without breaking the bank.

When it’s all said and done, selling your house in this market can be made much easier by making a few simple changes in your home. You may end up wanting to stay after you’ve looked at your home through new buyers’ eyes.

This post was contributed by Holly McCarthy, who writes on the subject of online trade schools. She invites your feedback at hollymccarthy12 at gmail dot com

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Pike Pine Triangle Construction Updates

I've been taking advantage of Seattle's sunny warm weather as of late by walking around the neighborhood to capture images of the local construction projects. And there are many. But I'll focus on just two, with both of the following developments having previous posts in this blog. Please view those posts as well for my original missives. The first project is the Eleven Eleven East Pike development, designed by Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects.

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. I'm also excited to see a block that is made up of many buildings, all with varying heights and styles. There are enough big-box entire block projects, so a balance is much appreciated.

As you can see from these images, they are super close to being finished. I'm pretty happy being that they've had the north sidewalk on Pike Street closed for far too long with this project. And with the completion of this project, the block is now home to four new developments all completed within the last couple years. A way different place than before, full of vibrant retail, eateries, and residents. Fortunately, there are still plenty of old buildings surrounding all the new ones, and they really add to the character and history of Capitol Hill.

The second project I wrote about in a post titled, "Designing Plazas and Public Spaces in Big Box Architecture" in which I gave my opinions on developments in which no public space is provided. This one balances in a middle ground, with a big-box footprint that still provides some off-sidewalk spaces. Designed by Runberg Architecture Group, and developed by barrientos, The Chloe is almost ready to top-off the framing...

You'll notice how the footprint of the main building is "L" shaped, with the open space facing the street rather than the interior, thereby creating a nice pedestrian friendly presence. This approach creates the appearance of multiple buildings, yet still shares the same structure and facilities. And it brings a one story building into the fold, removing the looming large mass above and bringing the building down to human scale. Additionally, they've created a plaza-like space between the buildings, allowing for people to gather and socialize off-street.

Being only two blocks away from the Eleven Eleven development and its revitalized block means the neighborhood is starting to reach critical mass. There are a handful of other developments that have also recently been completed, or are in the early phases, all within the Pike Pine Triangle. Fortunately my house and office are just a couple blocks away as well, and I get my architectural eye candy. Who doesn't love construction?