New 80-Unit Mixed-Use Apartment Building
Stream Dexios Apartments
A 6-story + mezzanine mixed-use building with one story of below-grade parking and sweeping views from the rooftop.
Located at the corner of Dexter Avenue North and Garfield Street in Seattle’s Westlake neighborhood, this new construction project responds to the site’s unique conditions: reflecting the context of development along the Dexter corridor, addressing the steep easterly slope, and providing a natural transition in both zoning and use from the commercial development to the south and the low-rise development to the north.
Though the site was previously zoned NC3P-40, a rezone to NC3P-75 enabled the building to provide contextual density and a more elegant massing transition from the C2-65 zone to the south and NC3-65 zone to the east. The additional height allows the building to relate more closely in scale to the adjacent existing structures, provide more affordable dwelling units, and respond appropriately to the site’s topography.
The building is designed specifically to address use and topography of the site with terraced massing to follow the natural slope of the hillside. Facing Dexter, the building is designed as two distinctive blocks. The dark brick contributes to texture, scale, and durability on the western façade, while the clear and clean form honors the masonry cladding. Inset decks and cedar accents add depth, richness, and warmth to the material palette.
The east massing, clad in wood, steps down the hillside. Shou sugi ban (charred cedar) siding brings organic warmth to the design. Juliette balconies and unit decks add a finer grain of material detail, and help to establish a rhythm and human scale to the façade. The massing elements are linked by a neutral gasket of cementitious panels that adds proportion and unity to the building design. A board-formed concrete plinth along the alley grounds the building to the site and echoes the texture of the cedar siding above.
The steep slope means Level 2 of the building is the ground floor level along the street frontage. Garage access is located off the alley on the P1 level. The project was granted a departure to allow mid-level access to the parking area off Garfield Street to use what would ordinarily be dead space along the side of the building.
Framed between the two distinctive massing blocks along Dexter is the project focal point: a mixed-use courtyard. Both the sidewalk and courtyard are designed to be porous to the adjacent spaces, encouraging informal gathering in the area. Overhead, festival lighting allows for flexibility of use after daylight hours. The landscape design in the courtyard and along the pedestrian corridor corresponds to the change in scale from large commercial space at the southwest corner of the site to live-work units at the north end of the site.
Changes in scale, color, texture, and depth enhance the architecture and the public realm. The street-level experience establishes a strong ground-level connection while negotiating the site’s topography. The playful storefront system at the courtyard creates identity and design cohesion, expressed in a double-height storefront system to promote transparency and street-level interaction. The courtyard itself is programmed with a mix of uses, including a commercial patio, residential lobby, gathering areas, and a commercial stoop.
Among its varied unit mix — studios, open one-bedrooms, one-bedrooms, two-bedrooms, two-story penthouses, and live/work lofts — 20% of the dwelling units are designated as affordable housing for residents with incomes ranging between 65% and 85% of AMI (area median income). The units are efficiently designed and contain built-in elements, as well as attractive finishes that complement the exterior design.
With floor-to-ceiling windows or sliders, the living spaces flood with light, whether east or west-facing. Smaller units along the east feature Juliette balconies, while others feature standard balconies facing west and south. Two-story penthouse units open to the rooftop level with private patios, which transition to the shared rooftop amenity.
On the rooftop, a working garden of raised beds cultivated by Seattle Urban Farm Company provide plentiful fresh vegetables, herbs, and flowers for the building’s residents. The rooftop includes a variety of spaces for residents to gather in large or small groups, while enjoying uninterrupted 180-degree sweeping views from north to south, overlooking Lake Union.
Notes & Credits
Jill Burdeen led the design and permitting of this project while at NK Architects. Construction completed at Board & Vellum.
This project was built by Compass Construction.
Structural Engineering by Yu & Trochalakis.
Civil Engineering by Pace Engineers.
Photography by Andrew Giammarco.
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