Building in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle was a long-term goal of our clients, AvalonBay Communities. As their partners on several past projects, they trusted us to match their dedication and create a design that might reach beyond their comfort zone to fit the diverse, artistic personality of this highly engaged community. To get it right, we involved Capitol Hill locals in the architecture process early on, inviting their feedback and gaining their support before design reviews.
Architecture that fosters connection is better for individuals and communities. AVA Capitol Hill is driven by connections through design that links the past and present, as well as fosters social interaction. Our strategy for this mixed-used building was rooted in the desire to preserve the historic character of its location within the Pike/Pine area of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, formerly known as “Auto Row.”
We incorporated four historic structures: three façades that make up the ground floor retail on the south end, and in addition one full building that serves as the residential fitness and lounge amenity spaces. The blue stainless-steel tile on the exterior of the residential levels was intentionally chosen for both referencing the building’s past life as a car dealership, and responding to the eclectic, quirky character Capitol Hill is currently known for.
AVA occupies nearly entire block, yet its thoughtful layout creates a series of different street level experiences. Apartment placement, public walkways and courtyards, and organic ties to the outdoors establish links from home to street. A small courtyard provides a transition between the commercial and residential areas of the building. Ground floor units feature stoops that create a private place from which residents can observe or interact with the commercial street. The main entry is marked by a vertical swath of red exterior paneling. Upon entering the front door, an open hallway lets visitors see clear through to the other side of the block.
The common areas are designed for connection between residents, offering unique social spaces throughout. A feature wood staircase guiding residents from the public entryway to their individual apartments creates opportunities for neighbors to stop and chat or provides stadium-style seating for larger events. The rooftops of the historic façades create private decks with spectacular views of Capitol Hill for some of the residential units in the first new level directly above.
A story of connections, AVA brought our client’s long-desired vision for building in Capitol Hill to life through a marriage of respect for this neighborhood’s unique existing character topped off by stylish modern mixed-use offerings.