Location: Seattle, WA
Client: DLR Group
Size: 2,700 square meters
Status: completed 2018
Residential, Climate Change
Embracing the credo that the landscape should feel like it’s part of a place, MSP has created an
immersive space that seamlessly transitions from street, to building interior, to skyward exterior.
Marrying the materiality of the building with the natural elements of the urban spaces adjacent
to the site, the design intention for the project was to create a unique environment within each
area of the site, each allowing for various functions to occur. Each area is designed to reflect
the timber at the heart of the project, projected through patterning and with three–dimensional
installations that create a unique address within the neighborhood.
Seattle’s green spaces and urban forests are reinforced through a vibrant Green Street program
and areas that surround the building. With keen visual interest in mind, trees will be selected
for their growing habit, visual characteristics, and status on the city’s approved street tree list.
These areas will address the run-off created by seasonal rains and offer shade and wind screening
to pedestrians. As an alternative to the traditional city tree pit that serves as hallmark of a
typical urban streetscape, MSP can evolve this feature to better reflect the critical need to provide
connection at the root level for these street trees. Tree trenches ensure a healthier microclimate
and soil-level environment for plants, which in turn will allow them to be more effective in
their effort to reduce heat island effect and water absorption.
Situated near Denny Park, the building’s dual entrances will be framed by a sculptural plaza,
punctuated by a large sculptural form reminiscent of the region’s native hemlock. Crafted as a
large cone for conversation, this sculpture will become an iconic landmark within the neighborhood
and serve as a permanent navigational tool for visitors and residents alike. Raised planters
and beds laid out in circular patterns reminiscent of tree rings will ripple outward from the center
of the plaza, framing the open spaces for seating, passive activities, and offering an appealing
view of the parkland nearby.
The treeline of Denny Park will be reflected upon the 12-story glass façade of the Tower, viewed
as a leafy layer over the glimpse of the verdant building atrium interior that awaits. Passing
through the sculpted wood entrance, visitors will be greeted by a striking array of massive,
wooden spindles suspended from the ceiling, creating a tropical, jungle-like canopy, mirrored by
seating areas demarcated on the floor with planted beds of bamboo and other tree-like plants.
While some of these structures will artfully house a variety of lush vines and woody perennial
plantings, others will serve as vessels for live saplings displayed to hang at varying angles. The
raw materiality of this abstracted, aerial forest serves as a visceral reminder of the source of
the building’s structure, and allows for vibrant views from above, below and through the planted