The overall scale of The Standard represents a sea change for the University District. Because the two towers are the only high rises on the hill, the two towers can be seen from all over Seattle. And yet up close, at the human scale, The Standard is approachable: Our design team created the trio of buildings to welcome everyone, students and non-students alike.
This goes beyond our material choices and massing. Since The Standard’s site includes an alleyway, a historic building, and a nearby light-rail station—different architectural expressions that serve different needs—we’ve connected the three buildings to its neighborhood via a pedestrian throughway. Its meandering gold wall is like a yellow brick road, drawing people in through the center of the block by concentrating retail and building entry points in this core area. We’ve further enhanced this street life with landscaping, benches, lighting, and overlooking unit balconies. The more people and light we bring into these spaces and the buildings’ edges, the more vibrant (and safe) it feels, especially at night. And it’s a fun, bright place to hang out when Seattle’s weather turns beautiful.
The Standard’s neighborhood is characterized by an eclectic style and an abundance of art, freeing up a broad design language for us. On the high-rise towers, the tones of dark blue panels shift throughout the day as sunlight strikes it at different angles. From one tower to the other, we’ve created a visual conversation: the unique blue interior walls in the space between the towers play off of the light-colored materials elsewhere, which represents the pair’s shared “skin.” Seemingly caught between the two, the hybrid CLT (cross-laminated timber) midrise beckons pedestrians with a warm, exposed-wood “jewel” accent piece, the visual heart of the project that references the natural materials of the Pacific Northwest. This gesture, along with a mural on one side, exterior brick, stone along the sidewalk edges, and podium heights that align with surrounding buildings, helps the midrise building echo its surrounding architecture and subtly tie itself to The Standard’s neighborhood.
In the mid-rise, Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) construction will allow us to achieve higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible, with greater efficiency, durability, and beauty – three key reasons why we champion mass timber. Using mass timber from the Pacific Northwest also reduces the building’s carbon footprint. Wood on the exterior also serves as a beacon for people arriving from the neighboring train station. Since exposed mass timber is uncommon in Seattle student housing, we were excited to have the perfect opportunity to use this functional and stylish material at The Standard. This gesture, along with a mural on one side, exterior brick, stone along the sidewalk edges, and podium heights that align with surrounding buildings, helps the mid-rise building echo its surrounding architecture and subtly tie The Standard to the UDistrict.
Ultimately, The Standard serves as an extraverted, welcoming expression of what’s possible with dense student housing in the heart of a city—and what we’re able to do by combining our student housing and regional experience with the resources and vision of the country’s largest student housing developer.